VidAngel defies court order, continues to stream sanitized studio titles

Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox have accused VidAngel of operating an unlicensed streaming service.

Utah-based streaming company VidAngel continues to stream content from major studios that has been stripped of offensive language, violence and nudity, despite a court order to shut down.

“Defying last week’s injunction, VidAngel continues to illegally stream our content without a license and is expanding its infringement by adding new titles,” said studios Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox, who sued the company for altering their titles and successfully obtained an preliminary injunction two weeks ago. 

“We have brought VidAngel’s indefensible violation of the injunction to the court’s attention. As the court made clear in its order, VidAngel’s unauthorized acts of ripping, copying and streaming our movies and TV shows infringe copyright and violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. VidAngel’s filtering of content has nothing to do with the claims against it and does not excuse its illegal activities,” the studios added. (The latest court filings and statement were obtained by TechCrunch.)

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The studios have accused VidAngel of operating an unlicensed streaming service.

The company operates by breaking encryption on DVDs and Blu-rays, sanitizing content it deems offensive, then “selling” the discs to consumers for $20. Consumers then can return the discs for $19, a rental scheme that’s structured in what VidAngel has attempted to deem as a “private use” of purchased content scenario. 

The company seems less protected by loopholes on its other distribution platform—taking the discs, editing out the offensive content, then streaming the movies to consumers, SVOD-style. 

In their latest filing, the studios said that not only has VidAngel failed to cease and desist, it’s also streaming new titles, such as Warner Bros.’ "Sully and Storks," as well as Fox’s "Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children." These titles were just released on DVD and Blu-ray and are not currently in the streaming window. 

“If VidAngel will not comply with the preliminary injunction immediately,” the studios said in a filing with the U.S. District Court of California, Western Division. “Plaintiffs will have no option other than to move ex parte for an order to show cause why VidAngel should not be held in contempt.”