Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is leading a lawsuit launched by tech entrepreneurs against Google and its video site Youtube, over a series of bitcoin scams which use his name and image.
Wozniak has accused Youtube of failing to deal with the problem, and ignoring his requests to have the videos taken down.
The scam, which is similar to one suffered by hundreds of verified Twitter users last week, asks people to send volumes of cryptocurrency on the promise that they will receive twice as much back as a gift.
The lawsuit, also filed by law firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy and 17 other entrepreneurs, said Youtube has been “unapologetically hosting, promoting, and directly profiting from” the videos.
The group is seeking punitive damages, a trial by jury and demands that Youtube remove all bitcoin giveaway scams and promotions using the entrepreneurs’ name and likeness.
“If Youtube had acted quickly to stop this to a reasonable extent, we would not be here now,” said Wozniak in a statement.
“Youtube, like Google, seems to rely on algorithms and no special effort requiring custom software employed quickly in these cases of criminal activity.
“If a crime is being committed, you must be able to reach humans capable of stopping it.”
The lawsuit alleges Youtube has made tens of millions of dollars in profit from the videos, which also feature the names and images of billionaires such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Michael Dell.
In a similar claim made by cryptocurrency unit Ripple Labs, Youtube successfully argued it is not responsible for content made by third-party creators.