The couple, affectionately known as KimYe, alleges in the lawsuit that Hurley violated the confidentiality provisions of a “celebrity appearance release” by distributing footage of the proposal on MixBit. In reaction, Hurley brought an anti-SLAPP motion to stop the lawsuit.
According to AP, LA Superior Court Judge Ruth Ann Kwan ruled that the lawsuit “does not violate the free speech rights of the co-founder of YouTube,” which we’ll assume means that Hurley was unsuccessful in showing that the complained-about act was in furtherance of his First Amendment rights. As such, the judge needn’t make any analysis about who was likely to prevail. The case continues towards a trial date, scheduled for next November, although a signaled appeal from Hurley’s lawyer is likely to delay such a TMZ-friendly showdown.
Eventually, the case could make tabloids and legal geeks alike happy.
In his anti-SLAPP motion, Hurley signaled his intent to pursue a defense that the release form he signed isn’t valid because of a lack of consideration. Hurley argues that he doesn’t see appearing on television as a benefit.
What’s more, Hurley is addressing the issue of “confidentiality” in the era of nearly omnipresent reality-TV cameras. In contrast to the plaintiff’s experts, who opine that Keeping Up with the Kardashians should have had the value of first publishing the marriage proposal, Hurley argues that there was no decision at the time of the event whether the show would be featuring it.
And, if that’s not enough to keep observers awake, Hurley also seems to be priming a defense that West and Kardashian didn’t mitigate the damage to them. The YouTube co-founder is questioning why the stars’ lawyers didn’t do anything when TMZ took the video, added its own branding and exported the video to its own player.
In short, this lawsuit exploring the boundary between reality television and user-generated video survives another day.