United States District Court, N.D. California
LEIGH WHEATON; JILL PAUL; and TREVOR PAUL, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
APPLE INC., Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
putative class action, plaintiffs bring claims under Rhode
Island and Michigan law for selling, renting, transmitting,
or disclosing a customer's information without consent.
Defendant moves to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). This order Grants
defendant's motion to dismiss.
Apple Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal place
of business in Cupertino, California. One of Apple's
services is selling and distributing digital music via its
iTunes Store mobile application. The iTunes Store application
comes pre-installed on customers' iPhones. An Apple
customer can purchase music from the iTunes store. The music
is then stored in their device's Apple Music libraries. A
customer's personal listening information, found in their
Apple Music libraries, includes their full name and home
address along with genres and in some cases, the specific
music titles they purchased (Compl. ¶¶ 3, 16).
Leigh Wheaton is a citizen and resident of Rhode Island.
Plaintiffs Jill Paul and Trevor Paul are citizens and
residents of Michigan. Over the past three years, plaintiffs
all purchased music from Apple via its iTunes Store.
Plaintiffs allege that during this time, without their notice
and consent, Apple sold, rented, transmitted, and disclosed
their personal listening information to third parties.
Plaintiffs allege that Apple disclosed this information to
two groups: (1) data brokers, data appenders, data
aggregators, data miners, and other third parties, who then
supplemented the personal listening information with
additional sensitive personal information such as, age,
gender, education, household income, purchasing habits; and
(2) iOS mobile application developers, who in turn sold and
disclosed the information to other third parties.
complaint categorizes the purported disclosures to iOS mobile
application developers into three methods: (1) developers
access to metadata; (2) tokens; and (3) gifting
functionality. Under the first method, plaintiffs allege
developers could extract customers' iTunes music
libraries metadata and link customers' individual
identities to the data. Under the second method, plaintiffs
contend Apple allowed developers to readily access
customers' “tokens, ” which could be
associated with personally identifying information. Under the
third method, plaintiffs argue that Apple disclosed personal
listening information to other customers. Specifically, when
a customer attempted to gift a song to another customer,
iTunes would tell the purchaser if the recipient had already
purchased the song, thereby revealing the recipient's
name and earlier music selection (Compl. ¶¶ 45-83).
result of Apple's alleged failure to protect
customers' private information, plaintiffs claim (1)
overpayment; (2) loss of value of their personal listening
information; (3) unwarranted junk mail and telephone
solicitations; and (4) risk of identity theft (Compl.
¶¶ 44, 68, 117-19, 138-42).
on the allegations, plaintiffs bring three claims against
Apple: (1) violation of Rhode Island's Video, Audio, and
Publication Rentals Privacy Act; (2) violation of
Michigan's Preservation of Personal Privacy Act; and (3)
unjust enrichment (Compl. ¶¶ 98-154). Apple moves
to dismiss this complaint in full. This order follows full
briefing and oral argument (Dkt. Nos. 37, 50, 51).
moves to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint on the grounds
that plaintiffs do not allege damages under the Michigan
state law as recently amended, lack standing under Rule
12(b)(1), and fail to state their claims under Rule 12(b)(6).
State Statute Application.
complaint alleges violations of two state statutes: the Rhode
Island Video, Audio, and Publication Rentals Privacy Act and
the Michigan Preservation of Personal Privacy Act. RIVRPA
states in pertinent part:
It shall be unlawful for any person to reveal, transmit,
publish, or disseminate in any manner, any records which
would identify the names and addresses of individuals with
the titles or nature of video films, records, cassettes, or
the like, which they purchased, leased, rented, or borrowed,
from libraries, book stores, video stores, or ...