The Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”) was passed in 1988 in reaction to a fear that people other than a consumer and a video rental store could collect information on a consumer’s video rental history. This was not an academic concern at the time. Immediately prior to the passage of the VPPA, Judge Robert Bork, who had been nominated to the Supreme Court, had his video rental history published by a newspaper that was investigating whether he was fit to hold office.
Among other things, the VPPA protects consumers by limiting disclosure of rental and sales records by video tape service providers to the consumer, people who have the consumer’s consent, and law enforcement agencies who have a warrant, subpoena, or court order. Recently the plaintiff’s bar has tried to revive the VPPA by applying its provisions to websites that stream movies and digital content.
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