Ripple Labs and its CEO Brad Garlinghouse filed a lawsuit against Youtube on 21 April for its alleged complicity in a spate of repeated “XRP giveaway” scams. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, seeks damages for Youtube’s failure to stop XRP (XRP) scammers and impersonators.
The lawsuit lodges complaints against Youtube for: (1) Violations of the Lanham Act for Trademark Infringement; (2) Violations of California’s Statutory and Common Law Right of Publicity, and (3) Violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law.
The plaintiffs are taking action against Youtube to “prompt an industry wide-behavior change and set the expectation of accountability”, says an official blog post from Ripple.
Ripple alleges that the scam has defrauded victims of “millions of XRP valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars”.
The scam relies on spear-phishing attacks against legitimate Youtube channels, according to the filing. Using a malicious email, the attackers commandeer the Youtube channels of content creators—often those with legitimate ties to Ripple.
Viewers of the videos in question are then urged to send “between 5,000 XRP and 1,000,000 XRP” to a listed address, which promises 5x returns from the receiver.
The lawsuit states that Youtube knowingly profits from the actions of the scammers, despite having the ability to stop them. The filing states:
Ripple cites several instances where Youtube awarded verifications badges to channels which had been taken over by the scammers. Ripple claims it has filed 49 takedown demands to Youtube relating to the scam since November 2019. Another 305 complaints were filed against channels impersonating Brad Garlinghouse specifically, the document states.