Category Archives: Legal Battle

Those posts that are relevant to the legal battle.

VidAngel Responds to 9th Circuit Decision, Now Calls on Supporters to Call Their Members of Congress

(Provo, UT—January 4, 2016) VidAngel, the market-leading entertainment platform empowering users to filter language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV shows, is engaged in a high-profile legal battle with Disney, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm. These Hollywood studios have taken legal action in an effort to eviscerate the 2005 Family Movie Act and prevent VidAngel from lawfully empowering parents and families to filter content on modern devices.

 

Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied VidAngel’s request for an emergency stay of a preliminary injunction order recently issued against the service by a Los Angeles federal court.

 

CEO Neal Harmon has issued the following statement:

“Congress passed the Family Movie Act in 2005 because Hollywood had sued every company that offered content filtering for private, in-home viewing. Today, a small group of Hollywood studios, led by Disney, is using the legal process to try to render that law meaningless.

“We are asking our supporters to call their members of Congress and urge them to update to the Family Movie Act with new language that cannot be misconstrued in court, making it even clearer that filtering is absolutely legal in the streaming age.

“We are disappointed by today’s decision, but remain optimistic about our long-term prospects on appeal. Until our appeal is decided, we regret that VidAngel will not be able to offer filtered content. We continue to be grateful for the massive outpouring of support from across the country.”

 

VidAngel also encourages its supporters to go this page started by a Florida family in support of services such as ours: SaveFiltering.com

 

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About VidAngel

VidAngel is the market-leading entertainment platform empowering users to filter language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV shows. VidAngel’s success has been well documented, earning a #1 BestCompany.com user rating and making VidAngel one of the fastest growing entertainment companies in the U.S.

What’s Next for VidAngel?

Hi VidAngel customers,

 

As you may have heard, a federal judge asked us to take down our movies. But don’t panic yet! Here’s what happens next.

 

  1. We’re asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of the preliminary injunction. If we are successful, the movies will likely be back up within 2 weeks.
  2. We’re also appealing the preliminary injunction to the 9th Circuit. If that’s successful, the movies will likely be back up in a matter of months.
  3. If neither of those efforts is successful, remember that we have $10 million in the bank to continue this fight all the way to the Supreme Court. We are very optimistic that we will win the legal battle!

 

Here’s how you can help:

 

  1. Watch and share the video below about why we believe VidAngel is legal.
  2. Go to savefiltering.com to sign the petition.
  3. Keep checking in until our movies are back up (and in the meantime add your favorite titles to your watch list).

 

 

Thanks so much for your support.

Love,
VidAngel

 

 

FAQs:

 

Why Can’t I Watch VidAngel Movies Right Now?

All movies are currently unavailable while we comply with the judge’s preliminary injunction. However, we are asking a higher court for permission to put all movies back up until the merits of the preliminary injunction are decided. If we are successful, we hope to have the movies back up by approximately January 12th.

In the meantime, you can continue to add your favorite titles to your watch list, so they will be ready for you once they return to our site. And although you can’t currently watch VidAngel movies, you can still read the filter listings for specific movies to make informed choices in your movie-watching.

 

Can I still watch movies with VidAngel?

We hope to have our first 3 VidAngel exclusives The Last Descent, The Abolitionists, and Life on Bitcoin up and running very soon. Over the next few months, we will continue to add new titles. Keep an eye out for updates.

We are also asking a higher court for permission to put all movies back up until the merits of the preliminary injunction are decided. If we are successful, we hope to have the movies back up by approximately January 12th.

 

What does this mean for my credits?  Will they be refunded?  

VidAngel credits never expire. Here’s what you can do with them:

  1. Wait until our movies are back. We’re asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay of the preliminary injunction. If we are successful, the movies will likely be back up within 2 weeks. Please stay tuned. And remember your credits are not at risk. We have $10 million in the bank from our recent investment round, so we can refund you at any time.
  2. Watch exclusive VidAngel content. Even though VidAngel is temporarily unable to offer movies, you will soon be able to view our VidAngel Exclusive content. Our first 3 titles – The Last Descent, The Abolitionists, and Life on Bitcoin – will be available very soon. In the next few months we will have an ever-growing list of titles available. You will be able to rent (not buy!) those titles using your credits.
  3. Cash out your credits. If you would like your credits refunded immediately, we’ll be disappointed but will make it happen. We hope, though, that you will choose option 1 or 2, and continue to stand with us to show the courts and Congress how very important our filtering service is to you.

 

How can I help?

Currently the best ways to support VidAngel are:

  1. Sign the #SaveFiltering petition at www.SaveFiltering.com
  2. Share our “Is VidAngel Legal?” video with your friends to help get our message out. (Video found in blog post above.)
  3. Watch the movies that will very soon be offered exclusively on our site (and generously tip the creators so VidAngel can bring in more titles!)

 

What does the preliminary injunction do?

To implement the preliminary injunction, VidAngel has to take down the movies while the court decides whether our service is lawful. We will not know the court’s decision until we have gone through trial and the entire appeal process.  We are also asking the many, many studios that chose not to sue us to permit us to continue to filter and stream their movies for the duration of the appellate process.

 

What percent of the current VidAngel movie library is affected by the lawsuit? Which studios are involved?

53% of titles are owned by the plaintiffs (Disney, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, and Lucasfilm). However, if we are unsuccessful in getting a stay of the injunction, we will not offer titles from ANY studios until the court has ruled that we have a legal right to do so. We expect to receive an answer by approximately January 12th.

Because the vast majority of studios have not challenged VidAngel’s service, we are reaching out to them to ask whether they would object if we make their titles available while the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether the issuance of injunction was proper.

 

I currently own several movies from VidAngel. Am I able to continue to watch them with the filters I want?

The good news is that you still own your movie. The bad news is that we can’t currently stream it to you, but we are asking a higher court for permission to do so through the appeals process. We expect to receive an answer by approximately January 12th.

In the meantime, you may request that any disc you own be shipped to you (a processing fee of $5 per disc applies to this service). Or you may wait until content filtering becomes available again as the result of a stay of the decision on our appeal. Please note that because we are not allowed to make copies of filtered content, discs sent to you will be unaltered and thus unfiltered.

 

What is the status of the antitrust counter suit against the studios?

The judge heard arguments on the counterclaims Monday, Dec 19th, and said he hoped to issue a ruling within 7 days, but we have not yet received any ruling.

 

Have you started a petition to save filtering?

No, but a family from Florida started a petition at http://savefiltering.com. It has already received over 100,000 signatures.

 

Has Netflix been approached about licensing/including filtering?

Yes. Their agreements with the studios do not allow them to permit content to be filtered.

 

If the lawsuit results in the ability to license streaming how much would watching a filtered movie cost?

In that case, the studios would set the price at which they sell the licenses.  We hope to negotiate agreements that will allow us to offer filtered streaming prices comparable to those charged to watch unfiltered movies.

 

Can you sell/license your filtering function to the other companies who already have streaming services/agreements?

We attempted to do that but the studios’ license agreements prohibit distributors from allowing it. The major studios have never consented to allow anyone to stream filtered content.

 

Will it be possible to market the filter software to allow everyone to edit their own movies?

Our goal is to build a system that will enable you to create your own tags for filtering your movies.

 

Please explain how ClearPlay has been able to provide filtered content through Google Play? Is it doing something different from what VidAngel attempted to do in its early days?

VidAngel’s approach in 2013-14 was similar to ClearPlay’s current approach to streaming. VidAngel filtered Google Play content that customers could watch using the Chromecast streaming device.  As we prepared our filtering technology for launch, our Chromecast app was shut down and YouTube sent a cease-and-desist letter saying the service violated YouTube’s terms of use. VidAngel believes the terms-of-use agreement can also be invoked to end ClearPlay’s current service model, meaning that the studios can shut down ClearPlay at any time.

In contrast to VidAngel’s filtering method, the ClearPlay method is not able to filter high-definition (HD) content. It does not have apps for Roku, Apple TV, FireTV, Android, or iOS, and is unavailable for a large selection of movies. Additionally, the ClearPlay method does not permit the filtering of closed captioning, even though offering closed caption is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. VidAngel believes that it is close to achieving the filtering of closed captioning using its present technology.

VidAngel was founded to stream filtered HD content to families to watch popular movies on any device of their choosing. No other service is currently able to do that.

 

If the current business model gets shut down by the courts, could you follow a modified method without the VidAngel Sellback model?

Under the current injunction language, selling DVDs and Blu-rays and streaming them filtered (even without sellback) would still not be possible. The studios would like the court to hold that movies cannot be filtered without their permission, with or without sell-back and with or without streaming. The studios have never given anyone permission to filter movies for private, in-home viewing. They will not consent to allow VidAngel to filter content unless the appellate courts agree that our service is lawful or they decide to compromise in the face of our antitrust counterclaim.

 

Why doesn’t VidAngel try to settle out of court and obtain the licensing to stream and edit the movies?

We have repeatedly asked all the studios for licensing agreements. Although we believe our current business model is lawful under the Family Movie Act, obtaining licenses to stream filtered content would provide significant benefits to our customers by allowing them to avoid “out-of-stock” notices and watch streamed filtered content at the same time as streamed unfiltered content becomes available. Having such a license would make life easier for us, too.

All but a few small studios turned us down. Of all the studios, 4 chose to sue us. Some of the studios that chose not to join in the lawsuit have told us that they would be happy to negotiate a license to allow us to stream filtered content if they could do so. However, they are prevented from doing so by their current contracts. We hope the litigation will make that collaboration possible.

 

Will you ever offer subtitles for those of us who are hard of hearing?

Absolutely!  Subtitles are already in development.

 

If VidAngel loses the battle to protect its current business model, does VidAngel have a business model that will allow it operate successfully?

Our intention/goal is to defeat the lawsuit. December 12th’s ruling was the first battle in a long war we believe we will win. We hope that content produced by VidAngel Studios and filtering content that has lost copyright protection will enable us to operate a successful, albeit smaller, business.

 

Aside from the goal of stopping VidAngel from streaming movies, what’s the end-game for the Studios?

The studios are very motivated to keep directors happy, and historically directors do not like filtering. We believe the 4 studios suing VidAngel are trying to appease the directors and will likely continue to do so unless and until VidAngel’s rights are validated by the courts or by Congress.

 

If the lawsuit goes all the way to the Supreme Court, what is a realistic time-table for that process?

It will likely be a 3-5 year process to defend our service under the Family Movie Act all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

Would you ever consider licensing more independent and or foreign films?

Yes. Please submit your film to VidAngel Studios for review.

 

What kind of content will VidAngel Studios produce in regards to quality and type (shorts, TV series, movies), and will this content be released theatrically or streamed from VidAngel’s website exclusively?

Initially we will offer stand-up comedy, behind-the-scenes views of the lawsuit, and licensed content from independent filmmakers.  Those projects can be completed using our current resources without harming our legal defense.

 

Network television edits movies (or at least they used to); wouldn’t VidAngel fall under the same rights?

Those edited movies shown on television receive director sign off and, along with the filtered movies shown on airplanes, are expressly allowed by the collective bargaining agreement all the major studios have signed with the Directors Guild of America.  VidAngel’s filtering is different because the studios and the DGA do not permit filtered movies to be watched by families at home. That’s the key difference.

 

Will VidAngel be sharing my personal information with any of the Hollywood studios who are involved in the lawsuit?

No. VidAngel will not be sharing any personally identifying customer information with anybody. The current lawsuit only involves VidAngel as a company. There is no contention that VidAngel customers have done anything wrong.

Update on Preliminary Injunction

Dear VidAngel customers,

First, the bad news. The judge has issued a preliminary injunction against VidAngel, requiring that we pull down all the studios’ content. We are seeking a stay of this injunction, but if our efforts fail, we will need to take down the movies of all major studios.

Now the good news. This is the first battle in a long war. We will launch an immediate appeal. And unlike previous filtering companies, we have the funds to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court. We’re committed to protecting your right to watch filtered movies in your home.

In the meantime, we will be finding and creating family-friendly shows and movies so you can still watch quality content on VidAngel. This will be a gradual process, so please be patient with us. We will keep you posted as this develops.

Hang in there,
Neal Harmon, CEO of VidAngel

#ThisIsNotOver #SaveFiltering

Is VidAngel Legal?

Dear VidAngel customers,

 

VidAngel is being sued by Disney, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm. You might be asking, “Are these studios just trying to get buzz by piggybacking on the VidAngel brand?” We’ll let historians answer that.

But first, the bigger question: is VidAngel legal?

 

We say we’re legal. Disney says we’re pirates. But Disney made Pirates 2 through 4, so who is the real criminal here?

Whatever you believe, know that if VidAngel gets shut down, it’s the end of filtering. Here’s why.

 

In 2005, Congress passed the Family Movie Act to protect the choice to filter. Just as a director gets to choose what goes into a movie, a family watching at home gets to decide what to mute and skip — and filtering is like a fancy remote to make muting and skipping easier. So everyone has their choice.

Sure, what a director puts in may offend some viewers, and what a viewer takes out may offend some directors. But being offended doesn’t mean you get to make choices for other people, or else college students would rule the world.

Well, Hollywood didn’t like that law, so they signed secret contracts with the Directors Guild and streaming companies to create a “force field” against filtering. The contracts said no one could filter or partner with filtering companies — basically blocking filtering from the whole streaming market.

(We only know all this because Sony got hacked by North Korea and their contracts became public. Probably because North Korea’s a big fan of filtering — just not the voluntary kind.)

 

And this is where VidAngel comes in — because that force field blocked us 4 times.

  1. We teamed up with Google to filter their licensed Google Play movies, but Hollywood told Google no.
  2. We tried to license directly and the studios said no, even though we had the money.
  3. We tried to buy discs directly and they said no.
  4. We made a product that let you filter movies you already bought on YouTube. They got it shut down. (Our competitor, ClearPlay, does essentially the same thing, and if they ever get big enough to be a threat, the studios will probably shut them down too.)

Basically, the force field worked. For 10 years no one could stream filtered movies, proving that Disney is so magical they can make Congressional laws disappear.

 

But the Family Movie Act struck back. Congress already knew Hollywood hated filtering, because before 2005 there had been about a dozen filtering companies, and Hollywood sued — let me check my math — all of them! They sued every filtering company!

So, the Family Movie Act said filtering companies don’t need Hollywood’s permission. They just need to meet 3 requirements:

  1. The movie is an authorized copy
  2. Watched in the privacy of the home, and…
  3. No permanent filtered copy is created

Notice that Hollywood here is like your fiancé’s parents — it’d be nice to get their approval, but if you can’t, you’re still doing this thing. Also, they’ll never give their approval! In my experience.

 

So what happens when Congress wants a company to exist, but Hollywood doesn’t? Well, it’s gonna be a weird company.

To filter streamed movies despite the Hollywood force field, VidAngel has to buy authorized DVDs and Blu-rays (requirement 1) from retailers, sell them to customers, stream the filtered movie to customers at home (2), without making a permanent copy (3) — meeting all 3 of Congress’s requirements. That’s pretty weird. But weird is not the same as illegal. Just ask Shia LaBeouf.

For instance, it’s weird for a startup to provide $1 movies without the studios’ permission, and to pay by buying discs, instead of licensing. But it was weird when Redbox did all those things too, and they were legal — though the studios tried and failed to shut them down.

It’s also weird that VidAngel decrypts discs. But if you’ve ever used a DVD player, then so have you, and you’re probably legal. So let’s look closer.

 

First, the discs. A law called the DMCA forbids unauthorized decryption of discs. Here’s why we think VidAngel’s OK.

 

1. The DMCA doesn’t apply here

Congress wanted the Family Movie Act to protect filtering companies from unfair Hollywood lawsuits. So they made clear that filtering companies meeting those 3 requirements would be immune to Copyright Act lawsuits. And since the DMCA is part of the Copyright Act, it shouldn’t apply here.

But even if it did…

 

2. Decryption is necessary to fulfill the Family Movie Act

Without decryption, Hollywood’s force field makes it impossible to filter at all. So either VidAngel can legally decrypt discs, or Congress passed a law that didn’t change the law. And you may not like Congress. They still know what laws are.

So we decrypt movies in order to add filters, then re-encrypt them to keep the copyrighted material protected. Plus…

 

3. VidAngel is legal under Fair Use

The Fair Use doctrine allows companies like VidAngel to use copyrighted works, since our use is transformative and the lawful filtering increases Disney’s movie sales.

 

Meaning…

  1. The DMCA doesn’t apply here
  2. We didn’t break it anyway, and…
  3. Even if we had, Fair Use makes that legal

So to quote MC Hammer, and those jerks at the Louvre, “You can’t touch this!”

 

Now, Hollywood claims our reasons are bogus, and decryption isn’t the legal way to stream filtered movies. But when we ask what that legal way is, their only answer is the YouTube method we tried earlier, which they got shut down! That’s like your fiancé’s parents saying, “No, don’t marry this daughter. But how ‘bout this other daughter you already dated, who we murdered?

In other words, there aren’t other options for streaming filtered movies. VidAngel is filtering’s last stand!

 

Now, the piracy accusers say we don’t pay Hollywood enough. But remember, we pay them just like Redbox, by buying discs. And just like Redbox, we have to buy a lot or we go out of stock. In fact, we spend about 1/3 of our revenue on discs. So if we’re pirates, then we’re terrible pirates. Just not as terrible as Pirates 2 through 4.

And again, we want to cooperate with Hollywood! We want licensing! But Hollywood seems determined to crush the entire filtering industry.

 

VidAngel isn’t a loophole! It’s a last resort.

 

So here’s how you can help:

  1. Keep using VidAngel and sharing it with your friends. The more customers we bring in, the better. And regardless of what the judge decides, you customers will never be held liable for using VidAngel.
  2. Go to SaveFiltering.com and sign the petition to help protect VidAngel. Every voice matters.
  3. Share this post, especially with our critics. We know some people will never love us. But we hope we can convince them we’re not criminals. We’re just trying to protect the personal choice of families.

We’ll keep you posted on the case. In the meantime, thanks for your support. You help make filtering possible.

 

(This blog post will soon be available in video form.)

Legal Battle

VidAngel’s Ad Agency

Hi VidAngel customers,

Disney and friends have criticized VidAngel’s choice of ad agency. In their last filing, the studios said the owners of VidAngel spend money on their own ad agency to enrich themselves. Which, to be clear, has nothing to do with the legal case and is simply their attempt to smear VidAngel. But let’s examine their claim anyway.

VidAngel was founded by 4 brothers – Neal, Daniel, Jeffrey and Jordan Harmon – three of whom also founded a wildly successful ad agency called Harmon Brothers. That small ad agency has created viral ads for Squatty Potty, PouPourri, Fiber Fix, Purple, and even presidential candidate Gary Johnson (through a Super PAC).  Harmon Brothers also helped set a Guinness World Record for orchestrating the world’s largest live nativity with The Piano Guys. Altogether, Harmon Brothers’ videos have received over 300 million views.

And the world has noticed. The Harmon Brothers agency now turns away clients because it simply can’t make campaigns for everyone who wants them. The Harmon Brothers ads have won two Webby awards (sort of an “Oscars of the Internet). They’ve built two campaigns with over 100 million views, and two of the top 10 most-viewed social media ad campaigns of all time. Forbes says they “may be the best in the business,” and Adweek calls them a viral video “kingpin.”

So when VidAngel needed an ad agency, it seemed like a no-brainer to try out Harmon Brothers. To avoid conflicts of interest, Neal, Jeffrey, and Daniel Harmon recused themselves from any decision-making. Then the deal was approved by VidAngel’s Board of Directors (minus Neal Harmon, who recused himself).

Since then, Harmon Brothers has created a series of successful ads for VidAngel – including “Paintball,” “Angel and Demon,” and “Game of Thronez” – and accrued over 20 million views of VidAngel ads. Within 10 months after VidAngel’s service launched publicly, sales increased by 2,600%. So VidAngel’s advertising expenditures paid off so well that Disney sued us.

Disney is implying that we’re doing something shady. But VidAngel and Harmon Brothers have always made their relationship public. And Disney is trying to take away your right to decide what content enters your home and what stays out.  We want you to know our side of the story.

 

Liz Ellis

VidAngel COO

 

More than Two Dozen Leaders Standing with VidAngel in Legal Battle with Disney while 30,000 Donors Contribute to Legal Defense Fund

Led by The Parents Television Council and including Enough is Enough, National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the American Family Association, Media Research Center, and other flagship nonprofits, grassroots support for VidAngel continues to grow

 

National Research Group poll reveals 82% of Values Audience parents are concerned about explicit content in movies and TV shows, and 57 million Americans are likely to use VidAngel’s service

(Los Angeles, CA—September 20, 2016) VidAngel, the market-leading entertainment platform empowering users to filter language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV shows, continues to earn a surge of grassroots support as the company prepares for its preliminary injunction hearing in late October. Disney—along with Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm—has taken legal action to prevent VidAngel from providing families the ability to filter content on modern devices in their homes as explicitly authorized under the 2005 Family Movie Act. Sony, Universal, and MGM chose not to join the lawsuit. 

Nearly two dozen leaders of well-known non-profit organizations, led by The Parents Television Council, have publicly expressed their support for and solidarity with the Utah-based startup company. Last week, as VidAngel filed its opposition to the preliminary injunction, many submitted declarations to the court, detailing how the service is clearly in the public interest. Additionally, nearly 30,000 donors from around the nation have now contributed to the company’s growing legal defense fund. 

Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, heard daily on 800 radio stations nationwide, added his name to the list of supporters, stating:

“VidAngel offers a service that is critically important. Our community, which represents thousands of families, cares deeply about being able to make thoughtful decisions about the entertainment they consume in the home. By empowering our families to filter language, sex, profanity, blasphemy, and other content they object to, VidAngel and other filtering services open up a whole new world of possibility. A world in which we can share important movies and programs that teach valuable lessons, but in a way that is safe for our kids. As I stand with VidAngel as a valuable resource to have, movie filtering is absolutely in the public interest, and can be a vital option to our community.”

Tim Winter, President of the Parents Television Council, states:

“The studios that are suing VidAngel must believe that if a standard is good, then a double-standard is twice as good. When Hollywood believes content should be altered or filtered, they eagerly step in and do it themselves. About a decade ago, NBC secured the broadcast rights to the beloved children’s animated series VeggieTales; but when the network aired the program, they removed references to God—despite the program being created by Christian producers who hoped to share Christian values. And when the television program Duck Dynasty was among the most-watched programs every week, ‘bleeps’ were edited into the programming to suggest harsh profanity was being used, even when no actual profanity was in fact being used. The network wanted to create the false impression in order to bring more ‘edginess’ to the show, despite the fact that the show was so popular precisely because it was squeaky-clean. And on every program on every network, promotional materials are placed above or below the program during its broadcast. 

“The ‘altering’ of the producer’s ‘work’ occurs all hours of every day on every network. The notion that Hollywood must vigorously prevent content filtering or editing for the sake of the creative community doesn’t pass the laugh-test.

“VidAngel is the only service that allows consumers to filter out offensive content while streaming the remaining content to their personal viewing devices, wherever they happen to be. VidAngel is clearly operating within both the spirit and the letter of the Family Movie Act. VidAngel allows each parent and each family to consume entertainment content precisely in accord with their unique standards. If the Hollywood studios convince the Court to impede or interfere with VidAngel’s legitimate and lawful business, American families will be deprived of the very right granted to them by Congress in the Family Movie Act.”

Leaders Submitting Declarations

The following is a list of leaders who submitted declarations to the court on behalf of VidAngel last week.

  • Tim Winter, President, Parents Television Council
  • Patrick A Trueman, President & CEO, National Center on Sexual Exploitation
  • L. Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center
  • Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Bob Waliszewski, Director, Focus on the Family’s Plugged In
  • Donna Rice Hughes, President, Enough is Enough
  • Gary Bauer, President, American Values
  • George Roller, Ambassador, Center for Christian Statesmanship
  • Harry Jackson, Bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches
  • Matt Kibbe, Chief Community Organizer, Free the People
  • Gary Marx, President, Madison Strategies
  • Rebecca Hagelin, Author and Family Expert
  • David Bozell, President, for America
  • Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association
  • Bryan and Diane Schwartz, Founders, Family Goals
  • Ted Baehr, Publisher of Movieguide and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission
  • David Barton, Founder and President, Wallbuilders
  • Rick Green, Host, Wallbuilders Live Radio
  • Tim Barton, Chief Operating Officer, Wallbuilders
  • Connor Boyack, President, Libertas

The Values Audience: VidAngel’s Core Constituency

The Values Audience is a segment of the U.S. population—52 million adults representing 37% of the entertainment market—whose faith is extremely important to them and is part of their daily lives.

inspire-infographic_portrait

  • Almost half (46%) of this segment identifies as Evangelical or “born-again” Christian, compared to 28% among the general population.
  • 64% attend weekly religious services,compared to 38% among the general population.
  • 52% pray several times a day, compared to 27% among the general population.
  • 34% list religious activities as an interest they enjoy (vs.17% among the general population, and 29% attend bible study (vs.14% among the general population).
  • The Values Audience is equally split on gender, and skews more towards younger adults. The majority (52%) are under age 34, with 29% ages 18-24.
  • 51% of the Values Audience have kids, compared to 40% of the general population. This segment is also more likely to have younger children under age 12 (37% vs. 30% among the general population).
  • The majority are Caucasian (57%), but the Values Audience has a higher percentage of African-Americans (18% vs. 12% among the general population), and Hispanics (18% vs. 15% among the general population).

The Values Audience: Deeply Concerned about Content

  • 82% of Values Audience parents are likely to say it is “very important” to know about any explicit content before deciding if their child should watch, compared to 72% among the general population.
  • 57% of Values Audience adults are much more likely to say it is “very important” to know about any explicit content before deciding whether or not they, themselves, will watch a TV show or movie, compared to 34% among the general population.
  • 59% of the Values Audience say they use website resources and tools to monitor explicit content their family watches, vs. only 30% among the general population.
  • 64% of Values Audience parents say they use parental controls to monitor and control the TV and movie content their children watch at home vs. 53% among the general population

The next step in the Disney v. VidAngel case is a preliminary injunction hearing to be argued in the Central District of California federal court on October 31, 2016. To view the legal defense fund, click here: https://www.vidangel.com/donate

How Hollywood Suppresses Filtering

Dear VidAngel customers,

 

Some of you have asked why we filed an antitrust suit against the studios. Here’s the simple answer:

Hollywood claims we don’t pay them for their movies. But the truth is, they refuse to accept our payments. (We still pay them though. Read on.)

 

Beginning in 2014, VidAngel tried to pay the studios 4 different ways. Not only did they reject every one, but then they sued us for allegedly not paying them. So Hollywood’s like the teenage girl who keeps turning down the nice guy, then complains that he never asks her out, then sues him for copyright infringement.

Look, we love Hollywood. We’re glad they make movies. But the fact is, they seem to be working to shut down the filtering industry. Here are the 4 times they rejected our payments.

 

Method 1: Traditional streaming license

VidAngel offered to buy traditional streaming licenses from the studios, but the studios said no. We get it — why partner with such a small company? Except we also reached out through a bigger company called Google. (A cool emerging tech company. Bing it.)

Google approached the studios with a plan to add VidAngel filters to Google Play movies, potentially bringing millions of new viewers to the licensed Google Play streams. The studios turned them down almost immediately.

And bear in mind, the U.S. filtering market is estimated at over 60 million people, according to National Research Group. So if Hollywood said no, they likely either…

 

  1. Want to block the filtering industry from entering the streaming age, OR…
  2. Want to avoid money and its corrupting influence

 

For now, we’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say #2.

Anyway, we also tried…

 

Method 2: YouTube extension

We created a platform that allowed viewers to buy a movie on YouTube, then buy the filter at VidAngel and add it to the movie. We hoped to bring Hollywood more money by attracting new viewers to their content.

Then the studios told Google (YouTube’s owner) that collaborating with VidAngel was a violation of contract, and forced them to withdraw crucial tech support. All of a sudden this model wouldn’t work.

“Wow,” we said. “We admire Hollywood’s moral commitment to not making money.” It certainly explained the release of Fantastic Four.

Nevertheless, we kept trying.

 

Method 3: Buying discs straight from the studios

This time we wrote to the studios asking to buy DVDs and Blu-Rays from them directly, so our customers could buy and sell back those movies online. This model would make money for Hollywood on each title, without giving a cut of sales to WalMart.

Some studios said no. Most never responded.

“Man,” we said, “their hatred of lucre is incorruptible. No wonder they can’t afford to pay actresses the same as actors.”

So nowadays we use…

 

Method 4: Our current model



VidAngel now buys DVDs and Blu-Rays from retail stores, then sells movies directly to customers. Hollywood gets reimbursed by the sheer number of movies we buy (we spend around ⅓ of our revenue on discs). And every VidAngel movie being watched is a licensed copy. It’s literally the only legal model that doesn’t require Hollywood’s cooperation.

We felt proud of ourselves for finding a way to pay Hollywood, despite their best efforts to not be paid. Then they sued us.

 

And here’s where things really get ironic.

Not only did the studios show significant hypocrisy in suing VidAngel for not buying licenses that they refused to sell — but they also claimed that Method 4 was illegal and that Method 2 was the legal way to filter streamed movies. To which we said, “Homeboy, we tried Method 2 and you shut it down!” We’re paraphrasing here.

Hollywood also implied that they sued us as soon as they learned we were using Method 4. The truth is that Albert Podrasky, Disney’s director of anti-piracy, has been using a secret VidAngel account to monitor us for a full year! (Though we’re not sure we understand his job, ‘cause he never watches movies about pirates.) The point is, it seems like Hollywood didn’t sue till we were getting too big for their comfort.

 

Anyway, the studios’ lawsuit has made us question our base assumptions. Maybe Hollywood actually likes money, and they’ve been shutting us down because they hate filtering. If that’s the case, we respect their opinion — filtering’s not for everybody. But they should come out and admit that they hate filtering, instead of pretending the case is about money.

In short, it seems to us that Hollywood is colluding to undermine the filtering industry — despite Congress passing the Family Movie Act to make that industry a reality. (In fact, Congress passed the law because Hollywood was trying to crush filtering.) That’s why we filed an antitrust counterclaim.

So that’s the scoop, VidAngel fans. Wish us luck in the antitrust suit. In the meantime, keep watching movies. We’ll keep you posted.

#SaveFiltering

Disney, Lucasfilm, Warner Brother, & Twentieth Century Fox vs. VidAngel

Disney, Lucasfilm, Warner Brother, & Twentieth Century Fox vs. VidAngel

VidAngel Steals Lawyer From the Studios

Dear VidAngel customers,

 

4 Hollywood studios have accused VidAngel of stealing their movies. That’s not true, but we are stealing their lawyers.

This week Attorney David Quinto, who used to be a lawyer for Disney and Warner Brothers, became the official lawyer of VidAngel. As you may recall, those studios and VidAngel are currently in a legal battle, so Quinto’s pulling a Kevin Durant and switching teams to the inevitable winners.

 

David Quinto is a fairly big deal.

The Hollywood Reporter named him to their list of Top 100 Power Lawyers. In fact, he was ranked #21 on the alphabetical list!

He spent 27 years as a lawyer for the Oscars, and during that time they never got sued for giving Best Actor to Nicholas Cage, so you know he’s good at his job.

 

He has had adventures in 140 countries during his life, including:

  • Outrunning a knife-wielding assailant for close to a kilometer in Rio de Janeiro
  • Escaping the Tuareg insurrection by fleeing Timbuktu aboard a Russian military cargo plane
  • Spending a month in Argentina during the height of the Dirty War and almost being executed in Mendoza (without cause, we should note)
  • Litigating his first case while still in law school and earning two published opinions, one of which has been cited by the Supreme Court

 

These are all true stories. No, WE PROMISE. They really are!

 

Welcome to the family, David!

 

David Quinto: silent guardian, watchful protector.

David Quinto: silent guardian, watchful protector.