Introducing the VidAngel Lawyers

Dear VidAngel users,

 

We have good news and bad news.

The good news: We’ve been discovered. A group of Hollywood producers has recognized our potential, called the right people, and offered us the chance to showcase our talents on a national stage.

The bad news: ‘Cause they’re suing us.

 

As you may have already heard, VidAngel is being sued by Warner Brothers (creators of Catwoman), Twentieth Century Fox (Fantastic Four), Disney (John Carter), and Lucasfilm (Star Wars Holiday Special).

Those are 4 big players. Luckily, we’ve brought in some big players too.

VidAngel will be represented in this case by Baker Marquart, the law firm that recently obtained a landmark copyright ruling for another innovative company that threatens the traditional Hollywood model.

“Ooh, a copyright case,” you are probably saying to yourself, adrenaline coursing through your veins.

Last year, a streaming company called FilmOn was being sued by some major television networks and studios, including ABC (a division of Disney) and Fox. The networks said FilmOn violated their copyright, and demanded that it be shut down. But FilmOn argued back that its model was legal, and the studios should be required to give it licensing.

This debate was not new. The streaming company Aereo actually made a similar argument and lost. So FilmOn was facing an uphill battle against the studios one that everyone expected them to lose.

Enter Baker Marquart. With their representation, FilmOn obtained a landmark ruling in the Central District that FilmOn could legally apply for the same compulsory licenses available to large cable companies (an appeal will be argued this August).

 

So just to recap, Baker Marquart:

  1. Recently obtained a landmark copyright ruling
  2. Represents other innovative companies in the entertainment industry
  3. Beat the Mouse and the Fox in court.
  4. Attended law school for 3 years apiece!

Needless to say, we swooned. And hired Baker Marquart.

 

You may be thinking, “Wow, I guess VidAngel must have enough lawyers now.”

You can never have enough lawyers. That’s why we had our legal opinion written by David Quinto, the top-rated lawyer who represented the Oscars for 27 years. Yeah, 27 years! His first Oscars night was so long ago, some of the nominees were black.

The point is, we’re very proud of our legal team. We’re confident about our case. And we’re excited to tell our story to the judge.

 

Thanks for your support, and stay tuned for further updates,

VidAngel

#weareready

Lady Justice is blindfolded so she doesn't have to look at nudity.

Lady Justice is blindfolded so she doesn’t have to look at nudity.

100 thoughts on “Introducing the VidAngel Lawyers

  1. I’m with you guys. Fight the good fight. I’m so sick of the smut Hollywood produces in the name of “art.” You guys made a way for everyone to get along. And they can’t stand it. If you guys really approached them when you started up the company, and you have good record of it, I think you have a solid case. Don’t let them intimidate you. Give ’em heck. 😉

  2. My wife and I are cheering for VidAngel! This product and its creators have brought our family so much relief and joy in FINALLY being able to watch any good movie without having to witness all the profanity and bad content. The studios should be on-board because this product allows us to watch their movies in peace and full enjoyment!

    1. Exactly! Hollywood studios should be paying you for exposing their product. You could even be gracious and pro-rate their payment based on the filters your customers don’t use! ?

  3. So, what is your counter-argument? Fact: VidAngel makes digital rips of movies and then streams them over the internet under the cover that the user temporarily owns the DVD during the duration of the stream. The plaintiff’s claim that the initial copying of the DVD and then subsequent streaming of the digital copy are not done with the copyright holder’s permission, and are therefore illegal regardless of whether the consumer owns a physical copy of the movie. What’s your response to that?

    1. I wonder if they’re mad because vidangel is also unknowingly filtering out some sort of subliminal programming, as well as the smut…

  4. I so appreciate VidAngel! There are movies we don’t watch because of smut but they have good plots. Thanks to you we have choices not big studios making our choices for us.

    1. 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.

  5. My family loves vidangel! What a pleasure it is to not hear God and Christ’s names being used in vain, to not let nudity into my home, to not have to listen to every swear word imaginable. I’ve watched movies, in my home, with my kids, that I would have otherwise NEVER watched, let alone feel comfortable letting my kids watch.

  6. I’m rooting for you VidAngel. If the worst happens and you have to shutdown, I hope you release your platform as an open source project so we can edit our own movies and share edits to other people. I don’t see a way those Hollywood hipsters could stop that. Good luck!

    1. The studios aren’t suing because of the filtering. Did you even read the complaint? The studios are suing because VidAngel is using filtering as a legal loophole to provide cheap streamable content that nobody can compete with. They complained that VidAngel had Star Wars VII streamable for $1 before Amazon or Netflix even had the rights to do it. How is that fair? VidAngel is exploiting the Family whatever act to get a competitive advantage over Netflix, which you know is true. Why else would they provide G-rated movies on their site? There is no reason you would need to filter a G-rated movie other than the monetary reason – it’s cheaper to stream [G-rated movie] (with one filter applied) on VidAngel than it is on any other site.

      You’ll probably never see this comment though because VidAngel actively censors anything that could hurt its image.

      1. Robert, what is wrong with creating a competitive advantage? That is what business is all about. I am all for VidAngel and any competitive advantage they can create, as long as they do it legally and ethically. Now, whether legally and lawfully is how VidAngel is acutally doing it is the question at hand. But, that is for a judge to decide – not you! I side with VidAngel and give them the benefit of the doubt, rather than find them guilty without a fair trial as you seem to have done.

      2. Hmmm…so why can’t the other companies lower their prices to compete? Is it because they’d rather sue vid angel and take them off the market so that they can keep their high prices? Poor Amazon and Netflix.

      3. Unfortunately I have had to add more than one filter to a G rated movie and hello pg movies form the 80’s! Those bad boys need more filters than some recent pg-13s. I’m glad VidAngel is here!

      4. Robert Gill thought Vidangel would not show his comment but they did. Their image is clean. A G-rated movie does not necessarily have things that everyone wants their kids to see. My grandkids are scared of some scenes. Everyone knows that when Sleeping Beauty came out, that demonized dragon Maleficent turns into, spitting fire on the Prince, was too scary for the audience.

        There has been plenty of violence and double messages in many G-rated movies especially nowadays. If my grandkids can get the good message without the scary part, I will let them see it in Vidangel any time. Your argument will not stand if they show a sequence of G-Rated Hercules for example with Muses showing their legs from toe to way up there, very sensual, and some scary scenes. Without parents watching and guiding or being able to filter what the child will experience until the child gets the good message a child can be affected negatively big time. I see it as giving them donuts with poop. Vidangel let you give them the donut without the poop. Thanks.

      5. We still love Netflix. We also use redbox. We have no intention of letting either go just because we now use Vidangel too.

      6. First, Who Cares? Vid Angel found a niche. The studios are hurt about that, because they are too stupid to have thought of it for themselves. This model is great on many levels, and offers a wide audience. Too bad no one else thought of it first. Why is it that we, as AMERICANS always talk about the “American Dream” but the minute someone comes up with the “Dream” they are sued, ridiculed, and demonized? Oh, yeah. Because of Greed and Power. The studios want the last say. Well sucks for them! Oh! and what the is stopping Netflix, Amazon or Hulu from doing the same thing? Nothing? Well there you have it… just saying…

      7. Which is why one of Vidangel’s responses is that studios are violating anti trust laws (did you even read the case???) And yes, even G rated movies have things some families choose not to subject their young kids too (toilet humor, implied sex, etc). Search for one and check out the edits. My kids are watching a Peanuts Movie right now, rated G and I took things out. To each his own, but the issue is the freedom to make these choices on something I have bought (are they going to forbid me to fast forward through bad things on my DVDs too?)

      8. I side with Vid Angel. I filter out pretty harmless things for my 3 year old just because I don’t like her copying the deragatory banter.

  7. We are new to VidAngel and hope that you can win this. We were so excited to discover VidAngel and love the editing ability!!!!! This is the best thing since the start of television and movie making! All the best!

  8. I have spent so much on movies that I would have otherwise never touched. It let’s me even change the settings so I can rematch movies with my kids that are not old enough. I really don’t get why they would want to kill this cash cow. It seems like nothing but positive for them.

    1. I myself waited a long time to watch Argo and Lucy. Now I can. Hollywood would not have gotten a dime from me no matter how “good” their critics would say it was. I am glad for Vidangel to give me an option to see what a director created following of course the dictated os Hollywood that everyone has to use the F-word as if it was normal, and all the other morals that the Hollywood try to impose on people. The director would probably create his work clean but he can’t so here I am watching what he was forced to do by the dictates of Hollywood but clean, according to the dictates of my own moral standards. I have plenty of options and sometimes I do leave cleavage on (Big Fat Wedding 2) while removing language and sexual trash out.

  9. Tell Disney that we would have never watched Zootopia because of some choice words, and because of VidAngel, my kids love the movie and now we buy their merchandise. Geez don’t these studios know that not everyone loves seeing and hearing junk??? All you do is make their movies more available to everyone. Good luck!

  10. You will fail. The weight of the regulatory behemoth will crush you. This is the price you pay for trying to operate within the constraints set by the industry that exists to ensure your failure. The laws you are fighting were made by the companies that now will use them to terminate you. Maybe now people will realize that these digital copyright laws are not to prevent ‘privacy’ but to squash any threat to their antiquated business model.

  11. If this is about copyright laws why are the big companies going after VidAngel and ignoring franchises like Kidz Bop? They don’t just make edits available, they actually alter the lyrics, play the filtered song over the air and make a ton of money on CD sales, and merchandise etc.Newsflash: Anyone whose willing to hold out 28 days to rent the movie was never going to buy it in the first place and there are many movies I would NEVER have watched without a filter! VA filled a need that was there and the big guys are just mad that they didn’t think of it first. Sore losers.

    1. Kidz Bop purchases licenses to their songs and pay royalties to the original copyright holder for each song sold. VidAngel is not being sued because they’re editing content. VidAngel is being sued because the studios claim that they are streaming content without permission. We’ll see what VidAngel has to say in response.

  12. If there wasn’t a market need to filter these Hollywood Producers’ profane crap they wouldn’t need to sue you to stop you from competing with their media ventures. They should drop this and spend their money keeping alligators out of Disneyworld lagoons. If they’re not going to offer content protection, they can at least offer physical protection, huh?

  13. Our Family also recently found Vidangel and WE LOVE IT!!! We are rooting for you and pray that we get to enjoy this service for years to come!!!

  14. Although I enjoy the variety of movies I now have available without the nudity and unnecessary language my 6 year old son does not. Lego movie is one he has watched several times without Vidangel so yesterday when I rented it and set all the filters available (as I do with the movies I rent for my kids) he was highly disappointed the word butt was missing and told me the words are necessary for the movie to be good. Thank you for being brave and I hope you win this and all other fights. By the way your commercials are great.

    1. Vidangel seems to tailor the filters according to a movie’s target age. Kids movies will include filters for milder stuff too. So just don’t set as many filters on kids movies.

  15. You fight for all of us VidAngel! I have been recommending your service to all my friends and family and we all love it! You have the full support of your customers and the community!

  16. Just when I thought y’all couldn’t give a better response, you gave a caption to the picture of Justice. As long as you’re in business, I’ll be buying.

  17. I saw a TED talk on the responsible use of humor. Something about not using it to trivialize. You should check it out 🙂

  18. Glad to see you legal team with a great background! I am sure you guys are building a rock solid case!

    BTW, Here is Vidangel’s real competition: plex.tv. I can buy a video and stream it to myself “Anywhere, Anytime” using plex or do it from their Cloud Sync service. Why can’t I do the same thing with Vidangel? Buy the video and then pay Vidangel to stream my property (video) for me, rather than pay plex to do it?

    1. You should make sure they see your comment. This is good info for the case and a good work arround if the loose

  19. Vidangel, I hope you see here that you have an army of supporters. Give us a call to battle. What can we do to help. We are behind you 100%!!! Give us an opportunity to support you. Petitions, protests, Crowdfunding, etc. What do you need?

  20. “His first Oscars night was so long ago, some of the nominees were black.”

    Is this a typo? Meaning black and white? or meaning that there are no more black oscar nominees?

    1. There was a big fuss over this year’s Oscars that there were no black nominees. I’m not a fan of the comment, but that was the point of the jab.

    2. As in nowadays, all the nominees are white. It was a funny joke, but it took me a minute to figure out out.

  21. This battle will be won eventually. It might as well be you guys that do it. Everyone I know is rooting for you. *hats off*

  22. VidAngel has been a life preserver for my family in a sea of garbage put out by Hollywood. We’ve finally been able to watch all the latest and greatest movies and TV shows that we avoided before. I’m surprised that Hollywood doesn’t want our money, but maybe I shouldn’t be – they haven’t exactly tailored their movies to what I wanted to view so I suppose their intent is more to ‘push the envelope’ than to make money. Please keep fighting them! I’m praying for you!

  23. VidAngel gives people power and Hollywood does not share power (like Sauron). Go Frodo, Go Gandolf, Go Samwise, Go Strider, Go VidAngel!!

  24. I’ve been a supporter of VidAngel since pre-launch. I’m one of the hundreds OR thousands that put money in VidAngel’s pockets before they ever streamed a single movie. Others like me remember the requirement to own/rent movies from google or youtube to be able to stream it after they made the filters available for free (no, there was never a refund of the initial subscription fee or a nominal “thank you” for the initial investment). There’s been a clear shift in how they are monetizing their product from paid subscription to freely filtering movies from other streaming services (likely got a cut of proceeds) to the current buy/sell-back model. Like many others I came to VidAngel because I was tired of the stodgy, undefined filtering categories and faulty hardware of a competing filtering service. I now own a few movies through VidAngel that I don’t intend to sell back. All that said, I hope the suit forces yet another change to the model that is in some way cooperative with UltraViolet. I own too many discs that I filtered through that competing services that I can convert to digital for a couple dollars. How glorious would it be to be able to filter everything I own through a UV compatible service? Under the current model, there is no incentive to make this change. Supporting you Neal, but I admit to being a little selfish here.

  25. I suppose you knew this day would come (at least once). You have my support and prayers. Any counter-suit happening? Suing you for something that isn’t illegal nor an infringement?

    Legal Advice: Do NOT wink at the judge! You never know which way that’ll take your case.

  26. I’m very happy to have recently discovered VidAngel, the concept and execution (what I’ve seen so far) is fabulous and I applaud you for bringing this service to the public.

    However I do have one area of concern: from what I’ve read so far, it sounds like the Studio’s issue isn’t so much that you are offering filtered services, it’s that the studios aren’t getting paid for the movies that you are streaming. Like it’s essentially being pirated. Is that correct? Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being able to watch new releases for essentially $1, but at the same time the studios deserve to be compensated. Surely you guys can figure out a way of doing that and still provide the service at an affordable price (even if it would have to be more than $1). Right? If I’m misunderstanding please correct me. Thanks guys.

  27. Hi Neal –
    We’re big fans and we hope you prevail but we were curious about the following from your blog entry:

    His first Oscars night was so long ago, some of the nominees were black.

    What does that mean?

  28. We just found out about VidAngel and can’t wait to use it! Hollywood producers and screenplay writers themselves have no idea how many MILLIONS of people HATE their profanity in entertainment. May you be highly successful in winning your case and in influencing entertainment to be more clean and wholesome (while still highly entertaining)!

  29. I can’t wait to hear VidAngel’s counter-opinion. So far, nobody’s been able to articulate a defense of VidAngel’s business model to me. I know that VidAngel has previously cited the Family Movie Act as a defense of the censorship, but the current lawsuit isn’t about censoring, it’s about the legitimacy of streaming movies over the internet (censored or not) without paying streaming royalties (which is how VidAngel has brand new movies to stream for only $1 when the nearest competitors start at $5). I’ve not heard anybody explain to me how the movie studios *aren’t* right in this instance.

  30. This makes me so sad and disappointed… I’m ready to start a movement to boycott Disney and these other studios if they stop VidAngel’s services as we had stopped watching movies all together until this service came out anyway. The media standards make me sick to my stomach and as a family we decided movie watching just needed to be off the table for us as a family activity until VidAngel changed that for us! Do tell us how we can support you in addition to our prayers… On the flip side, if they are successful at shutting you down, I guess movies will be out for our family yet again and we’ll be playing lots of board games for family night. I am serious about the boycotting, the media industry has forsaken my family, so I’m happy to forsake them back…

  31. I recently started using VidAngel, heard about you from a friend. I love the service and the fact that I can see a filtered movie for the cost of renting elsewhere. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that you need cash flow to be able to fight the legal fight, and better yet you need to be able to afford to fight long enough in order to win it. If you need to raise prices, even double the cost for a days fee (maybe more if the need is really there), you would still have my shopping support.

  32. As an attorney, I’d love to help in any way I can. Back in film school in the 90’s we predicted the technology and the legal issues that would evolve.

  33. I am sorry to hear this and will pray that you can win. Our family is so grateful for what you do. We love being able to watch films without the vulgarity that is out there!

  34. VidAngel is my favorite service. I use it multiple times every week and tell everyone I know about it. Would it help to start a signature petition against Disney and Fox to stop being dumb and worry about making good movies? Or how about a strongly worded letter….

    In all seriousness, there are allot of movies I have intentionally avoided (Deadpool for instance) VidAngel has motivated me as a consumer to buy goods I never would have bought before and thoroughly enjoy them without undermining my personal values and standards.

  35. 100% behind you! Please let us know how we can help. I like the idea mentioned by someone earlier to increase the rental price temporarily.

    OR, at least make it an option to pay extra if you’d like as a way to contribute (that way you’re not forcing everyone to pay more, if you’d rather not).

  36. i assume vidangel purchases a license to stream video, correct? that would make the difference, i would think. having been involved in the tech dept at church, i know we have to purchase a license to play cd’s, stream video, podcast copyrighted material, even to project song lyrics on a screen. there is a license that allows you to live stream copyrighted material. does vidangel purchase the necessary license?

    1. Based on the text of the lawsuit, no, VidAngel does not purchase licenses. VidAngel temporarily sells the customer a DVD/Blu-Ray and then streams a digital copy of the movie while the customer “owns” the movie (the legality of which VA has yet to persuasively explain). Other than the initial purchase of the DVD, the studios receive no fees or royalties from VidAngel. Ergo, lawsuit.

    2. Why should VidAngel need a license ? What Vid Angel does, I believe, is sell you a copy of a movie which you can sell back to them . In other words, as an example, Vid buys 100 actual DVDs of Men in Black. Then they sell those copies (via streaming) to 100 customers for $20.00 each. Now, let’s say 50 of those 100 choose to sell back their copy to Vid. Now Vid only has 50 copies of MIB to sell. So I’m confused as to why you would assume Vid needs a license.
      Another example. If a church bought one copy of “The Pursuit of God” and then made copies for one hundred of its members, that would be illegal. On the other hand, if they bought 100 copies and gave (or sold them) that would be perfectly legal.

  37. We love love love Vid Angel!!!! It’s so wonderful that we can watch all these movies without the offensive language and the smut! We support you 100%!!!!

  38. Rooting for you Vidangel!! Love what you have done so we can enjoy movies we would not have been able to before. Use this service everyday.

  39. You guy are the best! And I mean the BLEEPIN’ best! Go, fight, win! You definitely have a great case that is worth the fight!

  40. So with all of these movies that I “bought”, how do I get my copy of them if Vidangel goes out of business?
    Because if you want to truly argue in court that we are purchasing the movies (and potentially selling them back) there needs to be a way for me to get my copy.

  41. If these studios had any brains, moral compass, or ethics (which they absolutely do not) – instead of suing, they would be jumping in with both feet saying “great idea Vid Angel!” “Wish we had thought of offering such a service to families who would otherwise not ever pay a cent to watch our media!” “Since we didn’t think of it (or never cared) how about we enter into a partnership with you, like we have with Netflix, or other services?” The movies can be priced the same as other options $2.99 or $3.99 so that everyone gets their pockets lined….. I know that the families who care deeply about this wonderful service would be happy to pay the cost for taking all of the insanely corrupting garbage out of otherwise watchable movies.

  42. I sure hope Vidangel wins this battle. When I am on my Roku and search for movies I see Vidangel on the list and the price is $20.00 and I think… man… that is a big disadvantage over the competition. Well, that is what it is. I have the option to keep it or sell it back but in the end people who do not want to pay $20 waits for Netflix or Amazon and that for me is plenty fair. I love the service. My wife and I were able to watch “The Patriot” for this 4th of July celebration and she loved it, she was in tears, and we did not have to see what made it rated R. That tells a lot and Hollywood should be thankful. But they have a goal and anything that gets in the way of that goal must go. I hope you don’t go Vidangel. We love what you do.

  43. I really love what you guys are doing. What you have done is really innovative and if the courts shut you down they are doing the human race a disservice. If you can just hang in there you will revolutionize the way people watch movies and that is exactly what Disney, Fox and the others are afraid of. Its about time the film industry embraced the space age.

  44. I’M SO SICK OF HOLLYWOOD TELLING ME WHAT I CAN OR CAN’T VIEW IN THE PRIVACY OF MY OWN HOME!!! Please keep doing what you’re doing! I love movies again because I don’t have to try to fast forward certain scenes or be embarrassed with all the profanity and immorality. We are watching movies as a family again! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE win this ridiculous lawsuit!

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