A group of consumers recently filed suit against Best Buy Stores and bestbuy.com alleging violations of the Video Privacy and Protection Act (VPPA) stemming from Best Buy's retention practices for records of consumer purchases. Under the VPPA, companies that rent, sell or deliver video tapes or "similar audio visual materials" are required to destroy information that identifies that an individual requested or obtained specific video materials or services as soon as practicable, but no later than one year from the date the information is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was collected. In the complaint, plaintiffs allege that Best Buy retains this information for an indefinite period of time. The complaint was filed on June 1, 2011, and we are continuing to monitor its status.

TIP: As more companies enter into the realm of delivering, selling, or renting movies, TV shows, and similar content, they should bear in mind the requirements of the VPPA, which may be viewed as applying to them. We have seen an uptick in lawsuits brought under the VPPA, which corresponds to consumer advocates increasing scrutiny of how companies use and store consumer information.