Tag Archives: vidangel

UPDATE: Read VidAngel’s and Disney’s Appeal Briefs to the Ninth Circuit

Legal BattleJustice in the United States court system requires patience (this battle could take years to resolve), but we are trying to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress of the fight to #savefiltering. Here is our report on the appeal to the Ninth Circuit:

December 12th, 2016 - Judge Birotte issues a Preliminary Injunction. You can read the ruling here.
January 11th, 2017 - VidAngel files its Opening Brief on Appeal to the Ninth District Court. The introduction starts at page 17. 
February 8th, 2017 - Disney filed its response (including Disney's standard manipulative mud slinging)

February 22nd, 2017 - VidAngel files its final reply before the Ninth Circuit hearing. 

VidAngel’s mission is to ensure families everywhere have the option to filter content as they wish. The future of filtering is in good hands because these appeals are being argued by Peter K. Stris, who has been to the Supreme Court 7 times.

There is a lot to digest, but we feel that the final two paragraphs of our most recent brief sum it up well:

"Although the public interest in filtering is strong and Congressionally sanctioned, the injunction robbed the public of any viable means to filter. VidAngel is shut down; ClearPlay no longer functions for [streaming] new releases; and the Studios have scared everyone else away.

"According to the Studios, the relevant public interest is in 'upholding copyright protections.' The Studios have confused themselves with the public. The actual public has no interest in seeing America’s only commercially and technologically viable filtering company destroyed through an unnecessary preliminary injunction. The legal questions in this case are as complex and novel as they are important. If the Studios prevail, they will be entitled to damages. If VidAngel prevails, they will not. In either case, there will be a final judgment that 'upholds copyright protections.'"
Now we are just waiting to know when we will get a hearing. We will continue to keep you up to date.

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.

Disney Claims ClearPlay Is The Legal Streaming Option – This Is What They Won’t Tell You

UPDATE: ClearPlay Streaming Has Secretly Been Shut Down Since September

Disney claims ClearPlay is the legal streaming option. But because of studio restrictions ClearPlay’s service is severely limited (see graph below). What’s more, the studios have admitted they have the power to shut down that service at any time because ClearPlay is violating Google’s terms of service.

How does VidAngel know all this? Because we filtered movies on Google Play before ClearPlay did. The studios shut down our access to Google Chromecast HD streaming and we received a cease-and-desist for violating terms of service.

And this isn’t just antagonism to VidAngel, but to filtering in general. Google Play (which has licenses to stream Hollywood movies) later asked the Studios if they would filter HD movies using VidAngel technology. The studios said no again, this time to Google — one of the biggest companies in the world.

Lionsgate and Sony have also expressed interest in licensing to VidAngel because they realize the filtering market is huge. But they are forbidden to do so by their contracts with the Directors Guild of America.

This IS about filtering. Disney understands that if they can win a fight over decryption or copyright, then they can kill filtering (or render it unusable), allowing them to maintain a veto power over how you watch movies in privacy of your own home.

Fight for filtering by contacting Congress at savefiltering.vidangel.com #SaveFiltering

 

We’re getting through to YouTube and Google; Paintball video still blocked

After petitioning our personal contacts at Google and after our customers have flooded the Google forums with requests, last week two of our videos (How it works for movies and How to use VidAngel) became available in Safety mode.

This is great progress!

Now, it’s just the the paintball video and the behind the scenes video that need to be unblocked.

We need your help!

The only way these videos reach families is if YOU share the videos directly on Facebook or in email. They can not be found when families with safety mode search for them on Google or YouTube.

YouTube Refuses To Unblock VidAngel’s Videos From “Safety Mode”

UPDATE: YouTube unblocks two videos from “Safety Mode”; Paintball video still blocked

We have spent the last 3 days reaching out to every contact we have at YouTube, trying to find someone who can reverse the damage trolls did to our video by flagging and blocking all of our videos for anyone with “safety mode” on.

After 36 hrs and a severely damaged viral campaign. Today we got back this apathetic response:

Hi guys,

I apologize for the delay in getting back in touch. I ran this past various teams at YouTube and their feedback was the following: Content containing mild violence, sexual or other provocative content may not show up when using Safety Mode.

Unfortunately that’s about all they’re able to provide — they also shared this link with me in case it helps to have more context on safety mode.

I apologize I’m not able to help more on this issue but appreciate your patience.

Thank you,
Sara

The irony is that ALL but one of our VidAngel videos are blocked in “safety mode”, not just the viral one we released with G/PG paintball marker mild “violence”.

There is no option for appeal. Another rep (who is on our side and trying to help without luck) said that YouTube doesn’t even have a department for this kind of problem.

This response is coming to a team which has signed off on millions upon millions in YouTube advertising spend over the past 4 years (Orabrush, Orapup, PooPourri, Endorse Liberty Super PAC…). In the past I’ve always been impressed with YouTube’s willingness to help on this kind of stuff, but this time I am getting nothing but apathy.

If you are concerned and want to help, you can voice your concern to Google here on this forum.

VidAngel’s Family Friendly Message Is Blocked From Reaching Families On Youtube

UPDATE: YouTube Refuses To Unblock VidAngel’s Videos From “Safety Mode”

UPDATE: YouTube unblocks two videos from “Safety Mode”; Paintball video still blocked

With 700k views in 5 days, YouTube “Safety Mode” is currently blocking families (or anyone with “safety mode” turned on) from seeing our viral ad promoting awareness about the rise of inappropriate content in media. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there; our entire YouTube channel appears to be affected. We suspect this is being caused by trolls or haters flagging our videos as inappropriate content despite its family centric message and G/PG rated content. It seems Youtube provides no quick solution to getting these problems fixed, and thus jeopardizes our entire marketing campaign because our message is being censored from the very people it’s meant for.

Families (with “safety mode”) are Blocked From Finding VidAngel’s Video in Search:

  1. Go to www.youtube.com
  2. Near the bottom of the page, click on Safety: OFF and select Safety: ON
  3. Reload www.youtube.com and search for “vidangel family paintballs
  4. Note that VidAngel’s main video, with over 700k views, DOES NOT show up in the results (only reuploads of the video).
  5. This also blocks it from spreading in the YouTube algorithm among families who care about Safety Mode.

vidangel-family-paintballs-YouTube-safety-mode-enabled_(arrows)

Now, to make it show again:

  1. Go to www.youtube.com
  2. Near the bottom of the page, click on Safety: ON and select Safety: OFF
  3. Reload www.youtube.com and search for “vidangel family paintballs
  4. Note that VidAngel’s main video, with over 700k views, ONLY shows up in the results when Safety Mode is OFF!

vidangel-family-paintballs-YouTube-saftey-mode-disabled_(arrows)


 

VidAngel’s message uses paintball markers, exhaustive safety measures (see behind the scenes) and G/PG rated type action to make a powerful point against swearing, promiscuity, and graphic violence in media. The video is about parents right to control what and how they watch media in their own homes.  This family-message is now being censored similar to graphic sex scenes, graphic violence and other un-family-friendly content.

ALL but one of VidAngel’s Videos Are Censored:

If you visit VidAngel’s channel you will see that YouTube isn’t just blocking our viral paintball hit but all of our videos except one:

SAFETY MODE ON:

VidAngel-Channel-with-safety-mode_(arrows)
SAFETY MODE OFF:

VidAngel-Channel-without-safety-mode_(arrows)

Examples of Content NOT Blocked (compared with blocked VidAngel content):

VidAngel’s Videos Are Blocked From Families Not Censored On YouTube
Main video Game of Thrones Death
VidAngel Video Promoting Awareness about the rise Profanity, Violence, and Promiscuity in film. Disturbing and graphic Game of Thrones Death Scenes with over 300k views
how it works Assasins Creed Trailer
VidAngel How it works video without any paintballs markers at all. Assassin’s Creed Trailer LITERAL with graphic violence and gore.
bts hypocritical-paintball-back-fifa (1)
Behind The Scenes for VidAngel going over the MANY safety precautions used in filming with paintball markers A couple of guys playing the FIFA video game, using the F-word and shooting each other with a paintball gun with no safety equipment. Almost 6 million views.

75% Drop In Conversion Rates

VidAngel’s target audience is everyone who uses “Safety Mode” on YouTube.  Instead our video is now only reaching those who don’t care to even use YouTube safety features, let alone the more robust safety features of VidAngel.  We are still going viral but the crowd we are trying to reach is being blocked. We have seen our conversion rates drop sharply by 75% after the 24th of July when the censoring began.

Dislikes Have Increased by 300%

Because the video is being blocked from our target audience we have seen a massive decline in our likes to dislikes ratio.

likes dislikes ratio for blog post regarding safety mode

How Many Marketing Campaigns Is “Safety Mode” Destroying?

We are aware that this kind of censoring can be triggered by haters gaming the YouTube feedback system to get VidAngel blocked. We assume this is the case as our video could easily be displayed on national TV. In addition The Piano Guys, one of the most family friendly YouTube channels on the Internet, posted our video to their Facebook page and had a 400% better response than their average post.

the-piano-guys-screenshot for blogpost regarding safety mode

 

 

Unfortunately this kind of mistake in YouTube’s system can completely destroy months of work and lots of money invested in a large viral marketing campaign. We hope YouTube will remedy this ASAP. This issue is not limited to VidAngel, but MANY marketing campaigns where enough haters ban together to get an ad censored in safety mode.

This also shows the need of a system like VidAngel on YouTube for parental controls that actually work.

Help us get “Every Word Has Impact” out of Safety Mode. We opened a support request on YouTube’s support forum. Please post a quick reply here to let YouTube know you would like this problem fixed. We hope that with your help we can get the attention needed to resolve this ASAP. If anyone is aware of a quicker solution, please contact us at press@vidangel.com. Thank you for your support!

 

UPDATE: YouTube Refuses To Unblock VidAngel’s Videos From “Safety Mode”

Streaming to your HDTV

The experience of huddling your family or a group of friends around your laptop to watch a movie can be aggravating. Thank goodness some very creative people thought it was aggravating as well and have created ways to fix this problem.

VidAngel now offers the ability to stream to your HDTV via an HDMI Cable or Tabcast with Chromecast.

You can still stream directly from most computers to most TVs with an HDMI cable. They are very affordable (just make sure your computer and TV have HDMI ports before buying). Below is a tutorial of how to start streaming with an HDMI cable.

Click here to get an HDMI cable for your PC on Amazon

Click here to get an HDMI cable for your Mac on Amazon

To use Tabcast with your Chromecast device, complete the following instructions in the video below.

First, click here to install the Chromecast extension. After you install the Chromecast extension, you should see on the top right of your Chrome browser the Chromecast icon. (It looks like the icon below)

Once you have this, start your movie on VidAngel and use the Tabcast feature as shown in the Tabcast video above.

WATCH: How VidAngel works for movies.

A lot of people ask us if we have to go through each VidAngel movie ourselves to edit them.  The answer is no. VidAngel filters are crowd-sourced.  We have over 3000 trained taggers who go through movies and YouTube videos tagging them for content.

We also have a “no taking one for the team” rule. Everyone who tags VidAngel videos is required to agree to never tag any content they would not already watch if they were not doing it for VidAngel. There are plenty of people in the world who will watch all movies, leave the tagging of content you don’t feel comfortable watching to others.