BREAKING: ClearPlay Streaming Has Secretly Been Shut Down Since September

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.

Gary

[redacted email]

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.
clearplay streaming shut down
clearplay streaming shut down
clearplay streaming secretly shut down
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.

  1. Rent Independence Day Resurgence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr1xNdTzS1M
  2. Go to the YouTube Player Demo and enter the YouTube ID: Wr1xNdTzS1M
  3. Click “Update Player with Selected Options”
  4. Try clicking “Play,”  “Pause,” or “Seek” and you’ll find that the controls function.
  5. 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.

image05

Steps to recreate code that no longer works for new releases.

  1. Rent Jack Reacher here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqkN55TzitE
  2. Go to the YouTube Player Demo and enter the YouTube ID: EqkN55TzitE
  3. Click “Update Player with Selected Options.”
  4. Try clicking “Play” or “Pause” and you’ll find the controls DO NOT function.
  5. If you enter 1000 seconds and click “Go,” it will NOT skip.
  6. 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.

image03

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.

31 thoughts on “BREAKING: ClearPlay Streaming Has Secretly Been Shut Down Since September

  1. Wow, that is so underhanded! Especially since Disney is now pushing that Circle thing to allow families to “filter” apps, and time spent with electronic devices. As Captain Hook would say, “Bad form!”

    1. Ironically, they blocked me from commenting on their Facebook advertisements. They’re “filtering” any mention of the BETTER solution…known as VidAngel!

  2. Yes. Hollywood standards are way too low and as long as they make a profit, we should be able to choose higher standards with editing. Choice is so important! Years ago, I had the pleasure of buying an edited version of Air Force One and would love to have that option with Patriot Games and some others. More power to VidAngel and ClearPlay!

  3. It might be queried whether VidAngel’s opposition knew or had reason to know that Clear Play had been shut down when they presented their evidence. Seems like Vid should explore a motion to reconsider to the Fed judge based on allegations of newly discovered facts and allege that the opposition’s pleadings should be struck on grounds that the pleadings were misleading, disingenuous (I love that word!) and potentially contemptuous of court…..judges rarely have sympathy with parties who play Hide the Ball…

    1. I agree! My perception of the VidAngel attorneys is that they are VERY good; I trust they’ll do what will produced the best outcome.

  4. VidAngel appears to continue to strengthen its case for the courts, and we all see the request to contact our representatives to hopefully improve legislation. Is there nothing we can do on the other side? Contact Disney or the other studios? We all would have thought that our money going to stacks and stacks of discs would have been a positive signal. I’m also thinking that phone calls and emails won’t go very far. What about a boycott of Disney movies (and other studios)? I know that concept is often frowned upon, but it seems very appropriate in this case. If for some reason the studios win again, it seems like filtering would be dead for good. So why not show them how much influence we all have, and how much revenue we are ready to give them by cutting that off for a while? I know a lot of folks will about die if they don’t get the latest Polynesian princess DVD first thing, but it would be an extremely effective signal to the studios. Anyone?

    1. I am part of the boycott. We are sorely missing Vidangel’s filtering. We have gone back to sorting through the books at the library and netflix for the things that we deem as already clean but have contacted our representatives and praying for judges who will do the right thing.

  5. I would think this would hinge a lot on whether Google did this of their own accord, which would be their right, or if the studios forced them to disable it. Proof that the studios was behind the code change would be a big deal to the judge I would think.

    1. Well Vidangel discovered the Wikipedia secret contracts that Google and the directors guild that told them if they work with any service that filters or edits they would violate that agreement. It sounds like Google is all for filtering but they can’t risk breaking that secret agreement with Hollywood.
      The API just ceasing to work for Clearplay all of the sudden sounds just like what happened to VidAngel. This just solidifies VidAngel’s defense that ClearPlays method was in violation from the start and could be shut down at any time.

  6. I have only used ClearPlays Streaming a few times mainly due to the cost and that you have to use to websites to watch a filtered film. I noticed mid December they had not updated streaming for new movies but i assumed it was glitch on my end had that happen with VidAngel as well. But a month went by nothing new still and i called them and they mentioned issues with the code but of course they wouldn’t say they were shutdown. Really hope Vidangel wins this war on Hollywood.

  7. It looks like Hollywood is in trouble now with the congress.

    “Darth Mickey Fox only you can be so bold. The congress will not sit still when they heard about sueing a filtering company protected by Family Movie Act.”

  8. New to this, but couldn’t VidAngel deliver the filtering mechanism on the client browser side so that they would be abiding by Hollywood rules by delivering unfiltered content which would then be filtered directly by the user?

  9. I can’t get over how wrong the studios are in this case. I have read over the relevant provisions of the Family Movie Act, Section 202 in particular. Barring any contrary case law, which I have not reviewed (yet), it seems clear to me that Vidangel is well within its right to create “a computer program or other technology that enables such making imperceptible and that is designed and marketed to be used, at the direction of a member of a private household, for such making imperceptible, if no fixed copy of the altered version of the motion picture is created by such computer program or other technology.” This is EXACTLY what Vidangel was doing, regardless of everything else that it did to try to comply with the impossible and intentionally unattainable requirements of the movie studios who are only trying to push their own agenda. I have contacted my congressmen and will continue to support Vidangel in any way possible. If I can be of assistance in any other way, please let me know.

  10. I think that stopping filtering options only HURTS the movie industry. For our family (and many others) unless filtering is an option–there are many Hollywood movies that we will NEVER end up seeing.

  11. I just saw ClearPlay’s “Friend of the Court” brief on their FB page. Seam’s they are saying something else. So what’s really going on? Are they shut down too?

  12. As we have not had any filtering options since VidAngel had to stop streaming, I simply haven’t paid any money to watch any of the movies I would have paid for if I was able to filter them. After weeks and weeks, I realized that I’m not missing much and I really don’t care if I ever see some of these movies. I’ve spent more time doing other things and I’m boycotting everything that comes from Disney. They won’t get a dime from me, and this isn’t just because of this issue, this has only caused me to look more deeply at them as a company. So I’m done with them, as well as the other studios. So do the math, that’s a family of six and the rest of the extended family is close behind because we all feel the same way. People want filtering, and there’s an Act that gives us the right to filter and these companies are fighting to take that away instead of working with it.

  13. Disney wants to prevent filtering so they can indoctrinate kids on their different agendas. Referring to the new Beauty and the Beast Disney movie and it “gay moment” as Disney pridefully boasts about. Now disney has alligators that eat kids on their resort beaches and “alligators” in their movies. Is Disney reallly even child friendly anymore.

    Also, isn’t Disney altering French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot Beauty and the Beastis a traditional fairy tale an example of “altering an artist’s art?”

  14. The crazy part of their behavior is that allowing filtering is so clearly in the movie industry’s financial interest. We need to love them enough to stop them hurting themselves! #toughlove

  15. I am sure Walt Disney is ashamed of what the company he created has become. He must be rolling and writhing in his grave!

  16. Just watched the movie Tim Timmerman, produced by the help of Vid Angel and I think it is amazing!! If more movies are created like this and they get a good profit it might send a message to Hollywood about the demand for clean/filtered movies. At the very least Vid Angel can appeal to their business side.

  17. I think it’s stupid that Disney is now becoming a horrific place in the film industry. I like that VidAngel is trying what it can to get it back up. PUSH ON VIDANGEL!!! I just pray that Disney doesn’t get the better of PIXAR and screw up Cars 3. The only good Disney movie coming out this year. If Disney takes pride in making a film gay, then things will just go downhill from here. Seriously, WHO NOW OWNS DISNEY?!?!?!?!

  18. Guess the (sub) plot of Frozen 2. Elsa get a girlfriend. I’m telling you, Disney’s starting to become a downfall.

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