Disney, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros vs. VidAngel

Fans, customers and supporters,

Disney, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros have filed a complaint against VidAngel in federal court. We wish they would have let us know they had issue with VidAngel back in July 2015 when we wrote them a letter to inform them about VidAngel’s lawful service. However, we’ve hired great Hollywood attorneys. We’re as confident now as we were when we launched that filtering a DVD or Blu-ray you own on your favorite devices is your right. We’re ready. More to come.

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon, CEO

68 thoughts on “Disney, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros vs. VidAngel

  1. I love Vidangel, and I hope you all can find a way to win this. What would you say to their claim that Vidangel doesn’t have a VOD license and that the DVDs and Bluerays were ripped without authorization? Am I missing something here?

    1. Please follow VidAngel’s response to the studios’ complaint and you’ll fully understand our position. Thanks for supporting VidAngel!

      1. It’s sad that they are suing them when they stream “clean movies” for $1 or $2 but when other companies rent “unclean movies” for $1 or $2, a lawsuit now has to be filed. This is ridiculous! Satan really doesn’t want the us to watch clean movies. These companies that are suing VidAngel are trying to “bleed” them out of business through court fees. It’s a dirty world we live in. Win VidAngel! #SupportVidAngel! Please watch out for them trying to drag you out in court so you have to end up going bankrupt from the court costs! Trust me, they will do it! Win! When is the court case?

          1. Good one, goofball Satan.
            But seriously, we need to help VidAngel win this, I love the service. It’s amazing the garbage in even PG movies from the 80’s. I had my kids watch Goonies from a DVD assuming it was like the one I grew up watching on TV, boy was I wrong. WOW! VidAngel is great for all movies as a safeguard for my kids.

      2. As much as I love clean movies, I despise a thief.

        How do the studios get paid by you???

        http://blog.vidangel.com
        “Before selling a movie, VidAngel lawfully purchases a DVD or Blu-Ray for every owner on its system (and stores the disc on the owner’s behalf in the VidAngel vault). The studios are compensated by the purchase of these discs.”

        So… when exactly are the studios getting paid, after you’ve bought the hard copy movie and you’ve ripped it onto your servers?

        So, yeah, you paid Walmart, Best Buy, Costco … whoever … for Deadpool. Yay! the studio is justly compensated for that 1 copy of a movie that was intended for home use. VidAngel then rips that movie onto their servers for people to “buy.”

        This is where your transparency would be appreciated. When exactly are the movie studios receiving compensation, after the movie is in the VidAngel vault and people are “buying” their “own” copy of the movie, from you?

        I’m pretty passionate about doing things legally, as I’ve had my own art work unjustly copied, reproduced and sold on eBay.

        So, please tell the world how you are getting around the legalities explained here:
        http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/10/its-still-illegal-to-rip-dvd-and-blu-ray-discs-for-personal-use/

        1. VidAngel respects copyright law and compensates the plaintiff content producers. The content they have created is some of the most beloved in the world, and VidAngel is grateful for the ways in which they’ve entertained and inspired. VidAngel’s purpose as a company from its inception has been to deliver a viable, modern technology for families and individuals who want to filter their content.

          As for the particulars of the law and how VidAngel’s technology works, we will respond to the studios complaint in a public filing that the court, you and everyone will be able to access.

          1. I do not know if this can be answered in regards to this case, but on the issue of being able to sell or rent out copies of something that you have previously purchase, are you only “selling” one copy of each movie that you have purchased at a time. In other words, I want to rent movie “A”, I pay you $20 and if you do not already own an available copy of the movie (like Redbox not having the movie), you purchase the movie. I watch it and sell it back to you. Now you can sell (rent) it again. If while I have the movie “A”, someone else wants the movie, you would purchase another copy or tell me to wait for the other to be re-purchased from me.
            Or are you selling copies of the same movie purchase to multiple customers at the same time?

          2. When it comes to the particulars of the law and how VidAngel’s technology works, we will respond to the studios complaint in a public filing that the court, you and everyone will be able to access.

        2. Charles, as much as I respect someone who is passionate about copyright laws, I’m just as passionate about responding to people who ask questions that have already been answered in multiple forms. You pay for the movie, the studio gets paid, you sell it back. Hmmm…ever heard of Redbox? They buy the movies wholesale, the studios get paid, they store it in an ACTUAL box and rent it out multiple times. The issue is not about copyright, the issue is that these studios want more money, they want revenue sharing. Perhaps they didn’t expect VidAngel to be successful, but now that they are, they want to be paid.

          So instead of supporting and investing in the little guy that wants to distribute their content to more viewers, they wait to see if he will do well, then reach out to force them to pay. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it is not about the moral high-ground, finger-wagging, high and mighty copyright argument. It is about the greedy low-ground, hand-in-someone-else’s-pocket, all about the Benjamins, we want to get paid argument.

        3. I assume VidAngel keeps a copy for every time someone buys it. There have been many times when I have gone to look for a movie and it says “Out of stock”, which means that at that particular moment in time, VidAngel does NOT own a copy and must wait until someone sells it back to them. But based upon the history of judges and moral decisions, I do not have much hope that VidAngel will prevail. It seems like there must be some way to license the technology and the ‘maps’ of the edits so individuals could utilize their own editing.

        4. Do you know how the studios get their money from Amazon Prime or Netflix? Are you obligated to find that out before using their services? Why is it that people only seem to have an issue with a company when they are trying to protect families from filth?

        5. How is this any different from Redbox? Aren’t they independently owned? They buy the movie from the store, throw it into the redbox, someone rents it for 3 bucks. Redbox makes that money, NOT the production company

        6. Where you’re wrong is when you say “buy.” VidAngel doesn’t “buy” the movies, they actually buy them. I know because I tried to buy In the Heart of the Sea on VidAngel the week it came out and it was unavailable.

          If the studios and vendors were all getting compensated for just one purchase, why wouldn’t VidAngel sell that to as many people as possible, instead of making it unavailable…?

          Because VidAngel is keeping the law—they literally do sell you the copy that they’ve purchased and it is no longer available to the customers.

  2. Love VidAngel! Glad you guys are well prepared. I have watched movies I never would have because I can see them edited. Thanks for letting us know and I support VidAngel. ?

  3. How can your audience help? Will public support, asking the right to filter content in our homes be upheld, assist in any way? Who can we write and how can we help your and our voices be heard?

    1. Thank you Kristy. Your support as a customer is so important. We are overwhelmed by the love and support of customers and we will let you know any and all ways that your voice can be heard.

  4. I stopped watching movies and television shows with nudity when I was 25 about 5 years ago. it was after I read studies on how the medias image of men and women effect us all. Making children bulimic and causing relationships to fall apart because neither partner feels satisfied since all around them they’re seeing images of what a “perfect person” should be. I think many of us have felt it too. Sitting with your significant other and seeing this person on the television that you think looks better than you and kind of having your heart drop knowing your partner must see it too. It gets worse when then take off their clothes and you see this perfect body with no imperfections. Now I am a relatively attractive person. I’ve never had trouble finding a mate and often been told by friends that I could have any man i want. So if you’re thinking oh this person is just unfit or out of shape and should fix themselves before blaming others that take care of their bodies. You’re wrong. It’s not just women either my boyfriend of two years has also made it clear how he feels when a man shows up on tv without a shirt let alone naked. I was so excited when he found vid angel. It opened up so many new movies and shows to us. I find it absolutely repulsive that these companies are trying to shut vidangel down. If you edit because you have children, religious views, feel like we do, or any other reason you have; you should be able to do it. We should have the right to chose what we watch and have acess to services that help us filter out the dirt we don’t want to see. These industries incorporate so much filth unnecessarily in films. Every year becoming more and more graphic, without any care towards home and family. As if that isn’t enough they’ll fight tooth and nail to prevent anyone from watching clean films. What because cleaning up the nudity, violence, and vulgar language is corrupting the film? Can you get any more backwards? I think perhaps it’s time to throw out my television. Since I no longer have the desire to watch anything by any of these companies. Which doesn’t leave much else since, they have their hands in everything both us and international.

  5. I was always a little nervous with the whole “sellback” feature. People (all my friends including) were watching everything exclusively on VidAngel, even G and PG movies just because it was so cheap. You have to step very gingerly in the online scene when it comes to streaming movies, especially if you are undercutting the big boys (Netflix, Amazon, etc.). There was a company once called Zediva that had a very similar model as you guys, and they got sued into oblivion.

    That said, I love your service for watching R-rated content and I am sad that this has happened. Hopefully you don’t shut down, but for what it’s worth, I would still use VidAngel even without the sellback feature, but only for actual content that needs filtering. I definitely would buy Game of Thrones at full price without sellback. Inside Out? Not so much…

    I hope that even if the outcome to this isn’t what you hoped for that the filtering work you’ve done won’t go to waste. An internet archive of filtering metadata would be invaluable so that people don’t have to manually comb through movies to locate swear words and sex scenes. You could just grab a JSON file or XML file that describes where all the offensive content is, and open it with a filtering VLC plugin or something.

    One of your biggest fans,
    Bryan

  6. I am a huge Vidangel fan and really hope you can beat the lousy studios. My biggest fear is the tyrannical judges who do whatever they want with no oversight or constitutional justification. All it will take is 1 judge who orders vidangel to stop their service and it’s over. I pray that doesn’t happen. The world is upside down. It’s completely legal for studios to spew filth all over the Earth, but it’s illegal for any company to try to sanitize the filth and only allow the good stuff to come through.

  7. This is so wrong on so many levels. Stick with it Neal (and team)! The work you do is wonderful and enlightening. You’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s, and this is where it really counts. You’ll be fine, and the media industry will see that they have nothing to stand on. Be fearless. Be relentless. Please keep us (your faithful supporters) posted on anything we can do!

  8. My wife and I are big fans of Vid Angel and love the platform you provide! Hope this all works out and expands your PR reach! This lawsuit seems highly correlated in timing with the crowdfunding campaign push. . .

  9. VidAngel is an amazing site. I’ve purchased sooooo many films through you guys. It’s really sad to see the filming industry suing you guys. I really hope you win. You’ve run everything by the book from day one. I wish these companies could see the legal process VidAngel is run by and the great product it offers to its customers.

  10. Neal, I really hope you win because my family loves your service and uses it every week. However, I wonder if you need to find a way to share your profit with the studios and really get them to license your practice. Imagine if other companies also stream movies using your selling and buying back model, it will drive Netflix, Hulu etc. out of the market and the movie studios can’t gain any benefit from it. They probably left you alone when you were still small. As you seek to become big, they have to get a piece of the pie. How the public supports your cause will make a difference. I hope you will be able to make it!

  11. I am a huge Vidangel fan and I tell anyone who will listen to me that they should try it.

    However, I am troubled by the studio’s claims that I read in the Deseret News article, that you do not have permission to stream movies, and that “that VidAngel ‘apparently (circumvents) technological protection measures’ on DVDs and Blu-ray discs and copies the content for their use.”

    I have always believed you, Vidangel, when you said what you are doing is legal.

    However, I think I and all your other customers deserve and need more explanation. I look forward to hearing that.

    Best of luck with the lawsuit.

    1. We will present our reply to the court to you in a very customer friendly way. No worries. You most certainly deserve that transparency.

  12. I can’t help but think,”Those big bullies!!” What would Walt Disney have wanted? He cared about the virtues a family holds, he cared about families being able to spend quality time together. They’ve taken his dream and turned it into any other dog-eat-dog business. I hope this turns out to be a David beats Goliath kind of situation, you guys are a great company that is improving the world. We should all be trying to make this broken world better, and you’ve actually figured out a way of doing that. I hope nothing ever succeeds in stopping you.

  13. Best of luck VidAngel team! I’ve been using this service since I discovered it last year. I made a commitment 8 years ago that I would raise my standard of what movies I watch and have kept to it, despite there being movies out there that look appealing were it not for the explicit content.

    VidAngel has created a way for me to see the movies I want to see (sometimes have wanted to see for years!), while sticking to my standard. I have actively spread the word about this service and know many that are benefiting from it.

    I hope you win the case! Let me know if you need people to testify about our rights to watch how we choose.

  14. It’s a shame to see these companies not wanting to be affected by a good cause. They already lost our support before you came around.

    God bless you VidAngel! Thanks for continuing to be a light in this dark world and for allowing me to purchase content I can trust my kids to watch.

  15. My name is David Clayton. I was the President of Trilogy Studios (Movie Mask) back in the day when we were being sued by the DGA. This is the exact same playbook that they played on us. Their council actually said, “We know you will win, but we have deep pockets.” We met with everyone in the industry to be friends with them and help them solve this issue. But in the end we couldn’t continue and had to close our doors since funding completely ended. Contact me if you would like any insights or feedback. Always happy to help 🙂

  16. I’ve always enjoyed the opinion that a product or service worthy of Disney’s legal team is a healthy indication you’re doing something incredible.

  17. I’ve always enjoyed the idea that a product or service worthy of drawing the attention of Disney’s legal team is a healthy indication you’re doing something incredible. Disney and her friends are incapable of servicing the insane demand to edit one’s movies. Kinda justifies VidAngel’s existence in my opinion.

  18. Maybe VidAngel could have an avenue for consumers to give a “donation” to the Studios, and give users a place to reward films that do not need much altering

  19. Our family uses VidAngel. (We are previous users of the TV Guardian.) Love your service and wouldn’t watch some films without it. Keep up the fight!

  20. Neal,

    I love Vidangel and I was on a trip and missed the opportunity to sign up as a potential investor. What is you plan to finance this fight? The SEC limits the amount of investors that you can have. Will this investors bring in enough capital? These studios have almost unlimited financial resources and will try to run you dry. I hope that your attorneys are friends of yours and will stand up for a cause. You need to win this. It is good for everyone because it will force the studios to have more reasonable online streaming rates. I am always upset when it costs more to rent or buy a movie online than it cost just to buy the physical media and have it shipped to me. It is about time that the people put these studios in their place and open up fair contracts for everyone. I have been very upset about the kind of money they squeeze out of Netflix and others.
    I would guess that maybe some of your SEC spots will open up as some of you potential investors may get nervous because of the lawsuit and decide not to invest. I would gladly jump at the opportunity to take an open spot to help see this fight through.

  21. Love vidangel. Awesome service and company. I would be extremely sad if they lost. What about starting a petition on change.org or some other site to help back vidangel? I tell everyone I know about it and know I could get hundreds of people to sign it.

  22. Sounds a little like a frivolous law suit to me. Even though VidAngel is legal, the studios will try to tie them up in court to burn their money and their will. Henry Ford knowingly helped the Curtiss Aircraft company to infringe on the Wright Brothers patents one at a time, in order to tie them up in court and break them, so that they could make aircraft whithout paying the licenses. Each patent infringement suit is for a specific infringement. So, Curtiss and Ford were wrong, but the Wright Brothers only had so much money to fight! Maybe We should send donations to the VidAngel cause to help them fight the studios.

  23. Thank you for this wonderful service. Best wishes in your legal defense. I have been able to enjoy soo many movies that I had given up watching because of the distasteful content. We are pulling for you!

  24. If it comes to it, I’m sure most of your clients (including us) will be willing to pay more for your rental service if it means staying in business. Worth the fight!

  25. Did any of you actually read the complaint against vidangel? They are not attacking vidangel because of its filtering capabilities. Copyright law is very complex, and no one should assume that the lawsuit has anything to do with vidangels filtering feature (especially since that’s what vidangel wants you to believe) they want to change a copyright lawsuit into a good vs evil battle that simply isn’t there. Also in the complaint, the studios aknowledged the legality of “filtering” itself, and that they have no interest in attacking the FMA that grants this legality.

  26. While I really hope and absolutely believe that vidangel is in the right here, I think the future is grim. Just look at Aereo, who operated on a similar idea – they figured that because each customer had a unique antenna at the other end of the service that was assigned only to them, they were in the clear, but unfortunately they lost and were shut down.

  27. Get a jury trial and send in well spoken expert witnesses that can appeal to the emotions of freedom. You guys have an uphill battle facing 4 major studios, I really thought they would leave you alone with your model. BUT I’m still willing to invest if you need funding, consulting, expert witnesses, winning lawyers…hit me up 🙂

  28. I knew this would happen. Something this good doesn’t go unnoticed! We love Vidangel and wish you all our best! Happy to help in any way.

  29. I enjoy Vidangle. I admire their business model. And appreciate them standing up to the studies. And not letting them chip away at the law that empowers the individual customer to enjoy the product the they purchased . It’s like a car manufacturer imposing on their customer not to do any customizing to the interior of the vehicle they purchased and owned. I don’t understand Vidangle’s requirement to choose at least 1 filter . ( Even deciding on no filter at all is still a filtering choice ). It seems like a hipocrisy , but a small trade off to the satisfaction of the service.

  30. Just “started” using VidAngel…and I love it! Even more, I “thoroughly enjoyed” reading all of the updates on VidAngel’s legal battle with the studios – in classical satire prose. After reading just a couple of paragraphs, I thought: “Now, this is my kind of management team – my kind of company. Finally, a company willing to tell the studios: “Go stuff your smut. We’ll play the legal copyright game on your own turf and beat you with class.’” Keep up the good work, VidAngel. May The Force be with you.

  31. I never liked having to get a filtering service to watch a movie I find interesting. I never understood why the movie makers feel the excess language and nudity belonged in those movies in the first place. If your the person who wants to watch an XXX movie then you would go to a place that catered to your liking. It seems Hollywood would like to ruin that “special” XXX market by making every movie be in that category and make it available to the youngest viewer!

    Once upon a time, movies were filtered, cut, or in other words blatantly edited to TV viewing (back when TV still had morals). I don’t recall the movie makers suing them for that.

    Unless corruption of souls is their goal ( selling their own soul wasn’t enough), you would think they would spend their energy making better movies that don’t need filtering instead of suing filtering companies.

  32. I absolutely LOVE vidangel! I wouldn’t want my children watching anything else! My aunt feels the same way! Even DISNEY has inappropriate art and language. My aunt wouldn’t even let her children watch Disney until vidangel came out!! It’s so great for children, but also for those adults who want to watch a good movie but don’t want the TRASH that comes with it. As a viewer I have the freedom to sensor what I watch! I really hope you win this lawsuit! Good luck vidangel!

  33. Does Disney even need to win to shut you down? If they are wrong but you go bankrupt fighting them then don’t they still “win”. Could this be their plan?

  34. I also love Vidangel. I can watch movies with my family without a worry to a surprise curse word or inappropriate (and definitely unnecessary) sex/nude scenes. It feels good to just laugh and enjoy the movie for the good stuff.

  35. I think you guys are doing an awesome Job is there any petition or something I could sign….I support you guys 100% I’m praying for you guys to win .I also hope the judge will over turn it so we don’t have to buy and sell it back we could just stream it for a few bucks especially for days I’m too broke to go anywhere and want to stay at home watch a movie ….and do you guys also bleep those weird out of place scenes…watching a Disney movie these days is like watching a horror flick

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