Disney, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm have successfully blocked VidAngel, a TVOD service that edits out adult content, from showing their films.
California Federal Judge Andre Birotte, Jr., granted Disney's request for a preliminary injunction against VidAngel pending trial. In a news release, VidAngel accused the studios of trying to “gut the 2005 Family Movie Act and prevent VidAngel from lawfully empowering parents and families to filter content on modern devices in their homes.”
Neal Harmon, CEO of VidAngel, vowed to continue fighting Monday’s decision in a statement.
“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,” said Harmon. “We will aggressively pursue an appeal and take this case to a higher level where we have always believed we will ultimately prevail.”
According to the ruling, VidAngel’s method of selling DVD copies of films to customers and then offering streaming versions of the edited films violates studios’ copyrights. Judge Birotte found the injunction to be in the public interest because there are other similar filtering services, like ClearPlay, that work with authorized streams.
The official ruling blocks VidAngel from circumventing technological measures protecting copyrighted works, copying copyrighted works and streaming or transmitting those works. VidAngel was also ordered to post a $250,000 bond.
In a blog post, Harmon warned customers that, barring a stay of the injunction, VidAngel would be forced to take down the movies of all major studios.
But he promised that VidAngel will appeal immediately and that the service, “unlike previous filtering companies,” has the funds to “fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.”
“In the meantime, we will be finding and creating family-friendly shows and movies so you can still watch quality content on VidAngel. This will be a gradual process, so please be patient with us. We will keep you posted as this develops,” Harmon added.