Movie studios win injunction against streaming service VidAngel

Walt Disney Co., Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. Entertainment have won a suit against VidAngel, a streaming service that filters movies to make them more family-friendly. A U.S. district judge granted an injunction against VidAngel after the movie studios sued the company to stop illegally “ripping DVDs and streaming without a license.” VidAngel’s service allowed customers to “rent” the DVDs for $20 to stream the film, then sell them back for $19, thus allowing them to pay only $1 for a filtered streamed movie. In the suit, the movie studios said “VidAngel was operating as an unlicensed video-on-demand streaming service.” Some of those films available on VidAngel weren’t yet available on other approved streaming services, so they claimed VidAngel was “undercutting the studios’ windowing system,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. VidAngel claimed the Family Movie Act of 2005 protected them; that law allows consumers to edit their own movies for personal use. The judge also cited that law, but looked at it differently, saying the Family Movie Act is talking about authorized copies of the film, and that VidAngel’s content was not authorized. The Los Angeles Times shared a joint statement from Warner Bros., Disney, and Fox, which said, “This case was never about filtering. The court recognized that the Family Movie Act does not provide a defense to VidAngel’s infringing acts of ripping, copying and streaming copyrighted movies and TV shows. We look forward to defending the court’s decision against any appeal to VidAngel.” They said they were “gratified” by the decision. VidAngel will be appealing the ruling. CEO Neal Harmon said, “Hollywood studios have followed a repeated pattern in their decades-long campaign to put movie filtering services out of business by seeking a shut-down decision in trial court. Previously, such a decision has signaled the end of the legal battle. As such, while we are extremely disappointed—for the countless people who rely on our service regularly to enjoy movies using filters—our customers have given us not just the mandate to fight this battle all the way to the Supreme Court, but the financial resources as well." News source: Orlando Business JournalHollywood Reporter, and Los Angeles Times Photo credit: Los Angeles Times
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