How “Disney vs VidAngel” Fits into the History of Film

I’ve received so many inquiries about the status of the lawsuit against VidAngel that I prepared a video update for all who have interest.

Significant Developments in the Disney  Lawsuit:

  • Jul ‘15 – VidAngel asked Disney to collaborate – launched service in Aug
  • Jun ‘16 – Disney sued VidAngel calling VidAngel “Pirates”
  • Dec ‘16 – Los Angeles Court issued a Preliminary Injunction
  • Jun ‘17 – VidAngel launched a new technology for filtering Netflix/Amazon
  • California courts would not address whether new technology was lawful and said to sue for declaratory relief
  • Aug ‘17 – VidAngel filed a declaratory relief lawsuit in Utah for new tech
  • Aug ‘17 – 9th Circuit Upheld the Preliminary Injunction
  • Oct ‘17 – VidAngel filed for Chapter 11 protection in Utah to pause the California litigation and focus on improving its new technology for Netflix and Amazon
  • Disney unsuccessfully asked the Utah bankruptcy court to dismiss VidAngel’s Chapter 11 filing
  • All legal proceedings now pending rulings by the Utah federal district court

Again, we want to thank our customers and investors for their patience and all their support. 

Onward and upward,

 

 

 

 

 

Neal Harmon

Co-founder & CEO

 

Sources:

The Renegade Roots of Hollywood Studios (read more)

Thomas Edison and the Kinetoscope by Haneiro Perez (read more)

Motion Picture Patents Company (read more)

Thomas Edison Drove the Film Industry to California (read more)

Independent Moving Pictures (read more)

A hundred years ago, one Hollywood studio was a great, safe place for a woman to work (read more)

United States v. Motion Picture Patents Co. (read more)

Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. (read more)

 

 

112 thoughts on “How “Disney vs VidAngel” Fits into the History of Film

  1. Thank you for the update, Mr. Harmon. Those of us who have supported you since your beginning are grateful that you have not given up on this much-needed concept. You are involved in a worthy cause. Keep up the good work!

      1. You mention the increase in swearing in Hollywood, I am sure just as a reference. I just wanted to back that up also on Netflix. Many shows that I would say appear quite interesting in concept are arriving as TV-MA. I found myself interested in many of these concepts, but eventually got tired of trying ignore the profanity or fast forward through love scenes. Per the concept of Vid Angel and some of its predecessors, I want to decide what is relevant to the story. I am the audience. Why is the “Customer is always right” not applicable to Hollywood. I understand some historical / non-fiction movies wanting to have some accuracy, but even then Hollywood actually embellishes (i.e. The Greatest Showman) I do not feel that the nudity or language is necessary to follow the plot in a Sci-Fi film or show. Please continue your quest. I was an avid fan. I watched movies that I thought I would never get to see. Now I am having major issues with decisions on shows that I want to watch on Netflix, but they are not appropriate in language. So it leaves me a very dissatisfied customer. Keep on fighting, great concept. I am the audience. Entertainment experience customized for me.

  2. so with it being a year out since the declaratory relief its possible we could get some news from the courts soon.

    But that last part “Disney unsuccessfully asked the Utah bankruptcy court to dismiss VidAngel’s Chapter 11 filing” is new and a big win in of its own. But as far as i can tell linking streaming services is not copying them.

    1. We don’t have a way to donate, but we allowed our customers to buy stock in our company in order to help us defend the lawsuit. About 8,000 families helped us that way. If we decide to offer that opportunity again, we will let you know.

        1. $3 per share of VidAngel stock. Families invested between $150 and $25,000 – with an average of about $1,300

    1. I did iron my shirt, but it doesn’t look it 🙁

      Folding my arms thinking too much during the day, right before the shoot. Need to iron again right before going on 🙂

  3. You guys are doing a great job in the legal battle and I really hope you guys win, and bring back movies from Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. (I seriously want(ed) to watch Shawshank Redemption, Speed, and The Matrix)

    (A tiny P.S.
    I know you guys took down the Recently Added section, but I wanted to watch Deepwater Horizon, except for that it was dirty. If it was fine with you, I’d suggest putting a small request for Deepwater Horizon. If it would be ok with adding it to your site, I’d appreciate it. If not, I understand.)

    1. Did you know we now have a feature where you can search and request anything on our website (not yet in the apps)? I just clicked request in my account to give you an extra vote. Please do it within your account as well.

        1. I just requested Deepwater Horizon and I can’t wait until it has filters set. I came to comment because on my computer, when my mouse hovers above the deepwater horizon poster, there is a flag button. When I press it, the poster is blured. I just came to find up what’s up with that.

          1. OK, it’s currently got a lot of votes and it’s almost to the top of the queue. It should not be long.

  4. I Want to know where the refund I requested at cancellation over 2 years Ago Went…..In my opinion you guys are crooks and deserve to be prosecuted for you behavior Over the last few years

    1. I’d like to know that as well – and I’m sorry that happened and I’m glad you reached out to let us know. Have you contacted support about it? support@vidangel.com

      We had a few refunds that didn’t go through because someone had cancelled the card to which we tried to refund the money.

      As far as the “crook” comment, you’re entitled to your opinion. Edison thought Laemmle (founder of Universal) was a “crook” and Universal Studios also thought Sony was a “crook” but the courts ultimately decide these matters. In my opinion, when a family pays for something, they have the right to filter it. Until the final verdict, we’ll have to disagree. Best to you.

    2. Really??…I think you are very small minded and self absorbed. Think about the bigger picture and what they are fighting for.

      1. Hey Cheryl,

        Don’t like vid-angel, like tens of thousands of other people do, then don’t watch it, but your small minded comments and attitude don’t help!
        There is no bigger picture here. We have the right to watch and filter what we want in the privacy of our own homes. They still get their mighty dollar.

  5. Good sir, I have to applaud your determination and desire to make Hollywood films family friendly. Nowadays, I’ve lost nearly every ounce of respect I ever had for Disney because it feels like all they care about is profits, which is NOT what Walt Disney desired for his films. He cared about making people and children happy with wonderful and magical stories with his work. Now, his company and all of Hollywood is convoluted by greed, lust, controversy and arrogance. I’m fully behind VidAngel, my whole family included, and I’ll support you guys in any way possible!!! God bless you, Neal. You, your family and all of your co-workers who continue to fight such a fierce battle. 😊😊😊

  6. I didn’t notice the shirt, just your face and your info. (whispering) “Was that your mom or wife? Sweet.”

    Thank you for the update. It seems when I start to wonder about VidAngel and have a certain question, you appear with the answer to my question. Thanks, keep in touch.

    1. It was actually me this morning. My wife was gone this morning with cub scouts for a day camp.

      I’m so glad to hear my post answered your question.

  7. Thank you for sharing the update. I do check the internet daily for updates on VidAngel (Search tools Past 24 hours) on google search. Interesting to see what pops in there from time to time.

    Any new steaming services coming to VidAngel?

    Any new tech coming? What would be cool would be to filter to local steam I.e VidAngel stick plugs into tv and ROKU stick plugs into VidAngel Stick elimnating the need to stream from VidAngel.

      1. I’m thankful for the additional functionality with Movies Anywhere, but without the movies from the studios that are suing Vidangel and the three major studios (Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM) that aren’t in Movie Anywhere it doesn’t help much. Do you ever have plans to give insight into what what technologies are at the top of the list in development?
        Personally, Vudu seems to be the biggest benefit because that is where most of the rest of my digital library is held. It also provides some of the cheapest options to purchase or convert hard copies of movies to digital copies.
        Thanks and keep up the good work!
        Aaron

        1. its been a year since Vidangel came back with their new model. Since then they have made great strides with Netflix and Amazon regarding features. So hopefully it wont be long till they get VUDU up and running cause im right there with you i have a bunch of movies on vudu and about 15 TV shows and they have way better deals than Amazon on rentals. so fingers crossed

      2. Google Play an iTunes would be great for those of us that don’t live in USA. Really hoping this becomes a reality!

          1. Any chance of us in South Africa being able to use vidangel? Think your services are greatly needed here as well.

          2. We are working towards taking VidAngel all over the world. Thanks for your patience.

  8. This is a great perspective. Keep up the fight Neal! We need Vid Angel! I believe you will ultimately win.

  9. For those of us who purchased stock, is the stock tied completely to the success or failure of the original business model in VA’s legal battle? Will stockholders share in the success of the new model or have you set this up as a separete entity? I’m sure you’ve answered this on a past video, but I can’t recall. I get confused. Wishing you success! Thanks, Neal!

    1. When they first sued us I thought the same thing. However, if you think about it, technology like this succeeding means that more content competes with Disney’s content.

      1. It’s funny. VidAngel is a streaming service that was founded in somewhere in Utah and you guys are currently on Hollywood’s radar? If I were them, I wouldn’t care if my films were being filtered. As long as I would make money from the people watching, I’d be happy. Surprisingly though, Disney don’t have a similiar opinion.

      2. Is it possible, that Disney is actually after the content technology themselves? That would seem like a better end game play with the path they have chosen. With VidAngel laying in the dirt, they would demand the technology to satisfy all fines/liens/whatever. And then with their money, make much more of it. Personally, I think they should have partnered up. While this was a long shot, they might not win. Which would be great.

  10. I love this service. It seems like TV-MA is taking over which greatly reduces our viewing options – VidAngel to the rescue! Keep up the great work.

    I’m sure you’ve looked into Hulu filtering. Hopefully that will be a future offering.

  11. I love Vid Angel. I appreciate your tenacity. I was once told that people who use foul language can’t think of anything intelligent to say. Movies in the “olden days”, (pre tonsil tickling days and everything that goes with that now), could still get a message across as to what was going on without ever being indecent about it. Whatever happened to leaving something to the imagination or the ability to make of an audience to make their own inferences? I hope you win! I think it is absolutely despicable that Disney, of all people, is pursuing this. If Walt Disney could come back from the grave….kind of like the Founding Fathers coming back from the grave and reinstating “original intent”, there is NO WAY Walt Disney would EVER endorse smut or the legalization of it.

  12. All in all I just want $1 movies again – that I can filter. That was the best thing ever. It ensaddens me that it’s gone. (That should be a word.)

    1. I agree. When your income varies from month to month, it’s nice to be able to celebrate extra income without a monthly commitment. Whatever happens, VidAngel has my support.

          1. It will…the integration just is not perfect so we don’t advertise it yet. However, if you sign up for basic and you watch on your Roku, it works.

          2. Thanks for the quick reply Neal! I can’t find a place to sign up. I am already signed up with standard service. Do I have to cancel the standard membership and then sign up for this one? I am interested because I got rid of Netflix months ago.

  13. Sometimes you have to draw the line in the sand, and I think this would be a good time to fight fire with fire. I was and still am a Fan of Disney. We have been to Disney World for the last 12 years. But our last visit during Christmas in 2017 just did not feel the same knowing the stance that Disney is taking on this subject. Maybe there is enough of us, that if we Boycott Disney that it would make a difference. Can we not send them a new Petition with the supporters of Vid Angel to promise to Boycott all things Disney if they cannot see how this service is wanted and much needed. Will it make a difference? That is yet to be determined, but there is no harm in trying. I know they have mine and my families names in their database. They need to know that we also strongly support Vid Angel in the quest for making movies avaliable for all to enjoy. Maybe offer them the chance to support this great service. If they can have their name on it and see the good in it, then maybe they will be willing to support us.

  14. Thanks Neal for the update. As a shareholder I fully support what you are trying to do and hope you win the suit soon. I agree with some others, all I want back is the $1 movie rentals. The new releases I’d like to filter aren’t on Netflix anyway and I don’t like having to pay for all these subscription services just to filter a movie. I’m still glad I bought the stock to support VidAngel, but I will be so glad when we get individual movie rental filtering back without a subscription, even if it has to be $2 or $3 per rental, but keeping it at $1 would be awesome too 😉

  15. So glad you are sticking with this. We also have been fans since the beginning. We even were able to watch Deadpool through Vidangel before it was removed by Disney! I’m wondering however if Disney’s desire to create their own streaming video service is part of the delay with this whole thing? I’ve been frustrated in general with the lack of Disney movies available for streaming across the board.

    1. I don’t know. But I suspect that the reason Disney is the lead against us is because as our technology succeeds, families have more options to choose for family movie night.

  16. My husband & I LOVE VidAngel! We don’t watch any movies with cursing,nakedness,etc. We pretty much watched cartoons before vidangel because everything was so bad! Now we can watch whatever we want! I feel like it’s good business for vidangel and for Netflix and amazon. We spend ALOT of money renting movies off of amazon and that’s fine with us because we can finally have date night without cartoons 🙂 I feel like Disney would also benefit from this because so many other people just like us could finally watch their movies! Especially the super hero movies that we can’t watch right now!! 😁 thank you guys for being so great and blessing us with being able to filter what comes in our homes!

  17. Whelp…

    At this rate all 4 of my toddler children will be old enough to watch movies however the *bleep they want…

  18. Thanks for the update.

    I’m curious about how the chapter 11 filing impacts all of your investors. At that time you made the comments that the money raised was enough to take you all the way to the Supreme Court. Yes this has been a brutal fight…how does this affect those of us who joined you in it as investors?

  19. Keep fighting for the rights of parents and families everywhere! We are behind you VidAngel!! Thank you for being so determined to do this for us!

  20. Great news. We are proud to help fund your progression in the courts and streaming. Any word on your development of filtering movies I already own on VUDU or Movies Anywhere? There are movies I own digitally and would love to filter them as I once could using the original dics and a filtering DVD player. Thank you, and keep up the great work! Also, if you could really push filtering for all Netlix content and Amazon Prime included content because it doesn’t add another level of fees as it does when ‘renting’ from Amazon. Thanks again.

      1. vudu has much better deals than Amazon for buying and rentals. main thing DISC TO DIGITAL feature. MOvies ANywhere is mostly supported by studios involved in the suit.

  21. It is deceptive the way you market the lawsuit as a battle over filtering to manipulate your fans, but you ignore the fact that it is actually a battle over streaming films you didn’t have the rights to. How would you like it if another website streamed your original content for a fraction of your price? That’s what you were doing, but you continue to deceive your customers by telling them it’s about filtering. Even your “stock sale” was based on this lie. You are robbing people.

    1. Tim,

      To me, it sounds like you’ve been lifting lines out of Disney briefs. This video pointed out that Edison thought the lawsuit was about theft, and Laemmle disagreed. Universal thought their lawsuit was about theft, but Sony disagreed. The courts decide these things, not us, not Disney briefs.

      Here’s some history on how the streaming rights interplay with the right to filter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kruwGyKaLEI
      And while you watch, consider for a second that we, our investors and hundreds of thousands of families are actually after what we say we’re after.

      Best,
      Neal

      P.S. Congress said that families have the right to watch filtered movies at home and that third parties have the right to filter those movies for them and to stream those movies, filtered as requested, to those families. Read 17 U.S.C. § 110(11).

  22. I honestly don’t get how DISNEY, of all companies, is against this. It makes no sense to me. I can almost guarantee that Walt would endorse VidAngel with no hesitation!

  23. Very well done, Vidangel! Your optimism throughout this entire ordeal is very encouraging. Thank you for all the time you have taken so that the public can have access to films, that they would otherwise never have watched because of inappropriate content.

    Ps: @Neal Harmon- Personally, I did not notice your wrinkly shirt. i have never ironed in my life, so i stand in awe at those in the human race (such as yourself) who not only iron their shirts, but also say that they should iron them AGAIN if they get too wrinkly. I am speechless.

    1. Hahahahahaha…only because I was on camera and I don’t want my shirt to get in the way of the message.

  24. As I have read through this, and followed here and there, I am confused at a couple of points. When I ‘purchased’ a movie, I was charged for the license. This license was mine? In doing that, Disney and every other service got their money? Right? However, I could sell my license back. Further, TV butches programs all the time? So exactly how did this get to this point? Is this like Colorado and the baker? (Colorado is going to lose big time) It seems that the one with the most money to get a claim (right or wrong) to the supreme court wins. If you are wrong, you hope the other guy runs out of money, if you are right, you get to keep your common sense rights, but have spent a ton in doing it. Have I missed something?

    1. The first five minutes of this video should clear up much of your confusion: https://youtu.be/kruwGyKaLEI

      Disney won’t accept the old DVD system or the new Amazon/Netflix one. We welcome a win on either or both (or for Disney to finally sell us a license).

      All of those would be a win for families.

  25. Thank you we love vidangel! Two questions, one when I invested money is that gone? If not, how do I find out any value? 2. Many of the mature rated shows don’t have a lot of great storyline or content even edited in my humble opinion. Are there going to be more tv-14 options with filtering? Shows like Hawaii Five-O, NCIS or more Limitless? Thank you

    1. Regarding #1 David, you still own VidAngel stock if you purchased it in our offering. We have not sold stock since that time (when stock was sold for $3) and so we do not know what the most current value of our stock is.

      Regarding #2, the best way to influence what becomes available is requesting it through the search feature of the website (it’s not yet available within the apps). You can request any content that we do not yet offer.

  26. Is every movie on Amazon and Netflix filtered with VidAngel? Can we set it to cut out graphic violence, cursing, and nudity? I’m guessing the answer is no- that only some movies are able to be filtered, correct?

    1. Great question. Not every movie is available for filtering. But all movies are available on search (on the website, not yet in the apps) and you can request those that don’t have filters yet.

  27. I dropped VidAngel after the legal battle required you to limit movies. I just didn’t see a lot of movies that interested me. However, after listening to your video and reading through your replies to comments I am reminded that there is a bigger issue at stake here and I want to stand with you and all the other VidAngel staff and subscribers. So, I’m signing back up and encourage others to join in support. Our children and grandchildren will be the beneficiaries.

    1. Welcome back Lance! Your help means a great deal to all of us giving what we can to win this battle for our children and grandchildren.

  28. Any way to know what the stock values are at this time? I invested and am wondering if I will be able to sell back to you guys at a profit some day.

    1. Hi Samuel. Thanks for investing in VidAngel! We have not sold stock since the time when you purchased it (when stock was sold for $3) and so we do not know what the most current value of our stock is. At this time, we do not have a way of foreseeing whether the Company will buy back stock in the future. All investments have risk, but we hope that you will be able to make a great return.

  29. Great product. You should require a password to change filters. I won’t leave vidangel on roku because it would be too easy for a kid to change filters without telling me and watch unfiltered when we’re gone.

    1. Also, subtitles would be really nice. And I think it would be really cool if you could do something to replace profanity with softer words, like d*mn= dang, etc.

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