When a Federal judge decided to temporarily shut down VidAngel in December, he accepted the argument that ClearPlay still offered customers a viable filtering option. He said,
“[T]he evidence in the record shows that another filtering service, ClearPlay, offers filtering to Google Play users who access authorized streams from Google Play’s licensed service. An injunction in this case would not prevent VidAngel or any other company from providing a filtering service similar to ClearPlay’s, and thus wouldn’t negatively impact the public interest in watching filtered content in private.”
In making that finding, the court refused to credit VidAngel’s argument that the studios’ terms of service that Google must accept to stream motion pictures prohibit Google from allowing any applications to “modify the audio or visual components of any… content.” As VidAngel’s expert witness had advised the court, ClearPlay relied on just such an application.
VidAngel has now learned that before Disney’s lawyers blithely assured the court that the Family Movie Act protected services such as ClearPlay’s and assured the court that VidAngel could offer such a service if it wanted, ClearPlay’s ability to filter new content had already been terminated. Google implemented technical measures in September 2016 to prevent ClearPlay from filtering any new content. Given that Google was enthusiastic about working with VidAngel to make filtered content available to families before they asserted their terms and conditions in 2014, it appears that the studios have now meted out equal treatment to ClearPlay.
That the cessation of ClearPlay’s filtering in September 2016 escaped notice until February 2017 highlights that customers never viewed ClearPlay’s service as good or convenient. It also raises questions concerning whether Disney will notify the court that it misrepresented a key fact the court relied on in granting Disney’s requested injunction.
VidAngel learned what had happened only after a customer brought to its attention that ClearPlay had ceased adding new movies.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Clearplay’s streaming service isn’t functioning for any new movies. I called them today and they told me that Google changed “the code” (they had no additional details they could share) back in September, which is prohibiting their ability to stream movies. They have no idea when it will be fixed. The call ended with them trying to sell me a Blu-Ray player (what is that?) and asking me to try and find a red box. A red what?
Anyway, that one option pointed to by Disney isn’t even working now, and it hasn’t for months.
|Disney Claims ClearPlay Is The Legal Streaming Option – This Is What They Won’t Tell You||2017/02/03 at 11:10 pm|
We checked ClearPlay’s site and verified that no new movie has been added since September 2016. The last available streamed movies were Ghostbusters (published in early September) and Independence Day (published in August). No movies posted then are streaming enabled. That had escaped our notice during trial because older videos were still up and running.
We then took a deep dive into the code and confirmed that Google had shut off its API as to all new movies published to its system. The logical explanation is that Google has now enforced the terms of service the studios imposed on it, preventing ClearPlay from offering a streamed filtering service. (For any curious engineers, we give instructions below for recreating our test.)
The bottom line is that the viewing public is currently left without a streamed filtering option for Hollywood content in spite of a federal law (the FMA) guaranteeing that right to customers. So far, Hollywood has successfully blocked every type of filtered streaming and has sued every company that ever provided filtered content (including ClearPlay).
Please call upon your Congressperson and Senators to clarify the Family Movie Act to make it even clearer that streamed filtering is legal. To find your Congress members’ contact information, and our advice on what to say, please visit SaveFiltering.VidAngel.com
To recreate the change in the code that has blocked ClearPlay, conduct the following steps:
Steps to recreate working code for older movies.
- Rent Independence Day Resurgence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr1xNdTzS1M
- Go to the YouTube Player Demo and enter the YouTube ID: Wr1xNdTzS1M
- Click “Update Player with Selected Options”
- Try clicking “Play,” “Pause,” or “Seek” and you’ll find that the controls function.
- If you enter 1000 seconds and click “Go,” it will skip. Or click “Mute” to mute.
Note the VIDEO ID below is Wr1xNdTzS1M and the video is loading properly.
Steps to recreate code that no longer works for new releases.
- Rent Jack Reacher here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqkN55TzitE
- Go to the YouTube Player Demo and enter the YouTube ID: EqkN55TzitE
- Click “Update Player with Selected Options.”
- Try clicking “Play” or “Pause” and you’ll find the controls DO NOT function.
- If you enter 1000 seconds and click “Go,” it will NOT skip.
- After some time, you should get the message “An error occurred. Please try again later. Learn more.” (see below)
Note the VIDEO ID below is EqkN55TzitE and the video is NOT loading properly.
You can repeat this process with any title in the ClearPlay library to confirm that ClearPlay has been blocked from filtering movies released after ClearPlay’s streaming was shut down by the Google Play/YouTube code change.