All posts by Neal Harmon

Legal Update: Disney asked Judge to start up the CA legal battle again

UPDATE(11/9/2018): Judge Anderson has ordered to lift the stay in order that damages, if any, may be determined as soon as possible.

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Hello Again VidAngel Supporters,

We had a significant legal hearing on Friday and, for those of you who are following the legal battle, you deserve an update.

What’s At Stake

As a reminder, Disney, 21st Century Fox, and Warner Bros. have been fiercely fighting this Chapter 11 process from the beginning. Their actions suggest that their only goal is to put VidAngel out of business to leave families without an option for filtering movies and TV shows on modern streaming devices.

What Happened

VidAngel appeared before Utah Judge Kevin R. Anderson to defend itself against Disney’s motion to restart the California legal battle. We’re hoping that Judge Anderson will allow this successful Chapter 11 restructuring to continue without needless obstruction.

The hearing went from 10am until around 4:30pm. In the end, Judge Anderson took his decision “under advisement” and committed to write an order as soon as possible.

We hope that Judge Anderson will deny Disney’s motion (and let us find a more cost-effective way to resolve the dispute in Utah).

Thank You

Many thanks to all those who supported us Friday. It was so inspiring to see your faces.  We’ll keep you updated.

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon
Co-founder & CEO
VidAngel

We have a bill! (H.R. 6816)

Do you want to watch movies from Disney, Marvel, Fox and Warner Bros. on VidAngel?
Great news!

Congresswoman Mia Love recently introduced a bill (H.R. 6816) that allows you to watch movies from all studios, using your favorite devices while skipping whatever you choose. Ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 6816 right now:  http://savefiltering.vidangel.com

 

“…there is confusion that requires an update to the FMA to ensure that parents and individuals have the ability to control the lawfully purchased content coming into their homes.”

–Congresswoman Mia Love

 

Thank you for contacting your representative and thank you Congresswoman Mia Love! (and thank you to the entire Utah delegation)
Sincerely,
Neal Harmon
Co-founder & CEO
VidAngel

From VidAngel CEO – My kids can’t wait for this

Last year, I watched a 20 minute episode of a TV show called “The Chosen” that completely captivated me and brought me to tears. We put it on our platform, and it became the most-watched program in our history. It also went viral on social media with impact all over the world. I have now personally invested to turn it into VidAngel’s first original series as have over 1,200 other people so far.†

A quick note about season one…Our family of eight now spans a broad range from 1 to 15 years old, and I’ve had a hard time finding something that everyone will enjoy reading together. However, The Chosen team allowed me early access to the first four scripts of the season. As I started to read one to the younger children, I smiled as their older siblings overheard and then joined us. Our entire family cannot wait to watch this series together.

If you haven’t seen the pilot, you simply must check it out! (be sure to click on “Watch Pilot”)

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon, Co-founder & CEO

 

 

†NOTE: VidAngel Studios is a business line of VidAngel, Inc. Neither VidAngel Studios nor VidAngel, Inc., are licensed or registered as a securities broker-dealer, funding portal or investment advisor. Neither will act, or be compensated, as a placement agent for any potential investment. Securities will ONLY be offered through a licensed, FINRA member securities broker-dealer. Further, VidAngel Inc. and VidAngel Studios do NOT guarantee the success of any funding effort or of any production generally.

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)

 

 

VidAngel Uses Chapter 11 Protection to Pause Los Angeles Lawsuit to Reorganize Its Business Around The New Streaming Model

UPDATE: We have created a special page to keep everyone updated on the chapter 11 process.

VidAngel is still up and running. And generating millions in revenue.

 

Chapter 11 reorganization can be bad news. But in VidAngel’s case, it’s good news for VidAngel and filtering.

 

First, chapter 11 is simply a reorganization and part of our legal and business strategy. Per federal law, chapter 11 reorganization automatically pauses our lawsuit with Disney and the other plaintiffs in California.  This strategy also allows us to continue our new lawsuit in Utah, where we are seeking a legal determination that our new filtering system is legal.

 

Second, VidAngel is not going away. To the contrary, our new VidAngel system for Netflix, HBO, and Amazon is up and running. We have millions of dollars in the bank, and are now generating millions in revenue. Our original series, Dry Bar Comedy, is exploding and has had over 16 million minutes viewed in the last 7 days. If you are a customer, you will be able to continue to use VidAngel to filter movies in your home using your Netflix, Amazon, and HBO subscriptions.

 

Third, this filing should give us time to take care of our customers and investors. Thousands of our customers invested $10 million to help VidAngel win the legal fight. We want to ensure that VidAngel continues to grow like gangbusters so that the many families who took a chance on us get their investment back – hopefully with a good return.

 

Remember, our new VidAngel system is growing rapidly. Our goal here is to reorganize the business around our new streaming model, which means pausing the lawsuit long enough so that, even IF VidAngel eventually loses the lawsuit on our old system, we have enough revenue from our new system to pay any damages to Disney. That way, VidAngel can survive and reap a return for the many thousands of customers who invested in us.

 

Finally, we want to emphasize that this is Chapter 11 reorganization, NOT Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is for companies going out of business. Chapter 11 is to protect companies that just need more time and flexibility to pay their obligations. Many companies, including Marvel, General Motors, and Delta Airlines have filed Chapter 11 reorganization and emerged as thriving, healthy companies. That is VidAngel’s plan, and we just took the first step.

 

To recap, VidAngel is:

 

  1. Pausing the California lawsuit
  2. Up, running, and making millions
  3. Exploding (over 16 million minutes viewed in last 7 days)
  4. Working to make a return for our investors
  5. Taking the same path as Marvel and Delta

 

We want to thank our customers and investors for all their support. We will keep you updated as we continue this legal battle – if necessary, all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

Onward,

Neal Harmon, Co-founder and CEO

Marvel movies now available on VidAngel

Great news! Marvel movies are coming back to VidAngel. Why?

Disney has chosen not to contest the fact movies owned by its subsidiaries are not subject to the California court’s injunction and so there will be additional titles available for filtering on VidAngel. Marvel is a subsidiary of Disney. There are several other subsidiaries of the plaintiffs you’ll recognize. For example:

NEW WORLD PICTURES, LTD.
CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
TURNER ENTERTAINMENT CO.
VILLAGE ROADSHOW PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC.
REGENCY ENTERTAINMENT (USA), INC.

We’re glad to be filtering titles from these great companies again. We also look forward to when we’re able to filter Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. titles again!

Quality over Quantity – VidAngel’s Take on Autoplay

In an effort to serve the needs of families over the needs of VidAngel, we have decided to give families the option to easily turn off the upcoming VidAngel “autoplay-the-next-episode” feature. Here’s why.

 

Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube go to great lengths to keep users on their websites for the longest time possible. They spend millions ensuring that every feature of their products is habit-forming (see Hooked: How to build Habit-Forming Products).

 

Thanks to Netflix’s autoplay, bedtime at my house is a battle. As the evening episode of “When Calls the Heart” ends, our girls fight to keep Mom or Dad away from the remote so that the next episode will begin. As parents, we usually find the autoplay feature to be a hindrance, not a help.

Netflix Autoplay: Next Episode Playing in 9 seconds

 

Has the Netflix autoplay feature had a net-positive impact on our world’s happiness and productivity? At VidAngel, we are hesitant to take a similar strategy.

 

Personally, I find media to be a good servant, but a bad master. I value media, not when it consumes my every minute, but when it helps me achieve my other life goals, such as:

 

  • – Love (seeing examples of healthy and unhealthy relationships)
  • – Learning (seeing examples of those who have been where I am, or where I want to go)
  • – Empathy (understanding those whose experiences are different from my own)
  • – Laughter (cultivating a light-hearted life)
  • – Or a Nap (resting easy without worrying that the little ones are getting into trouble)

 

Tristan Harris, founder of Time Well Spent,  also believes that media is a bad master. He argues that, rather than incentivizing binge watching and “show[ing] whatever keeps us scrolling”, the tech and media industry must instead begin “to put our best interests first.”

 

I want VidAngel to put the needs of families ahead of the needs of VidAngel. Meaning that customers who, like myself, wish to consume their media in moderation should not feel pressured to binge watch against their better judgment.

 

Although our team is currently working on an autoplay-next-episode feature for those who have asked for it, we have decided to use VidAngel to help achieve our media goals as families rather than simply copying Netflix’s.  Hence, our tech team will provide an easily available “disable autoplay” button. That’s something I’d like as a parent. We’ll also make it super easy to “enable autoplay” for those who are in the mood to binge. It’s up to you.

 

What do you think? Please share your thoughts or parental feature requests below in the comments. What would you love to have as a feature to your favorite family media app?

 

Even though the average American watches five hours of TV per day, we’re ok if VidAngel families get quality rather than quantity on their media experiences. Watch however the BLEEP you want.

Neal Harmon, Co-founder and Father of Eight 🙂

Judge Says He Doesn’t Have Enough Information to Clarify the Injunction, Yet

VidAngel Customers,

We just received news from Judge Birotte that “without further factual development on this issue, the Court is not in the position to declare the rights of the parties with regard to this new service.” This is nothing to worry about, it just means the can was kicked down the road.

Judge Birotte’s denial of VidAngel’s motion today was based purely on procedural grounds and not on the merits of our case. Our attorneys are evaluating the decision and will decide next steps in the near future. It is important for everyone to note that this does not affect VidAngel’s new system, which is fully up and running, it simply delays our ability to provide customers with content created by the plaintiffs.

In the meanwhile, we’ll be posting the following notice on the plaintiffs works to let customer know why they are unable to filter those movies and TV shows.

Keep enjoying all the other great content while we sort this out.

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon

CEO

Amazon and Netflix both fully operational

VidAngel Customers,

We’re pleased to announce that Netflix is again working properly.

In addition, all of the following outstanding issues have been resolved:

  1. Descriptive messages when a video won’t play (like you’ve reached your screen limit, etc).
  2. Netflix PIN for Parental Controls
  3. Netflix auto-select non-child profile
  4. App interface for confirmation codes for Amazon.
  5. Amazon PIN for Parental Controls
  6. Amazon 2-Factor Authentication

Hooray, now you don’t have to turn off parental controls on Netflix or Amazon to use VidAngel!

Existing free trials that started before 6am MST on July 5, 2017 will be extended until the morning of August 5, 2017.

Now, that the system is humming smoothly, the next thirty days will be 100 percent focused on publishing a ton of new content.

Happy filtering,

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

VidAngel is not affiliated with or sponsored by Amazon, HBO or Netflix. Amazon, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Instant Video are registered trademarks of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc. HBO is a registered trademark of Home Box Office, Inc

Update on Free Trial Extension

VidAngel Customers,

We’re pleased that Amazon is working again (we’ve implemented the proper security features for your Amazon account).

We regret to inform you that now we have a technical glitch with Netflix streams. This is frustrating because your account connects to Netflix, but VidAngel is unable to fetch your stream for filtering at the moment. We have a fix in the works. Again, we need to ensure that Netflix’s systems know that you’re real people wanting to filter just as we need to on Amazon. This is something we learn to do better and better as more of you use the system.

The good news is that we’re continuing the free trial extension until the service is working for you. And you’re able to enjoy VidAngel Originals and filtering on your Amazon Prime, Amazon Rentals and HBO accounts in the meantime for free.

Best regards,

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

VidAngel is not affiliated with or sponsored by Amazon, HBO or Netflix. Amazon, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Instant Video are registered trademarks of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc. HBO is a registered trademark of Home Box Office, Inc