Disney v VidAngel Trial – Verdict

The final verdict is:

Willfully infringed? Yes

Copyright Award: $75,000 per work

819 * $75,000 = $61,425,000

DMCA Award: $1,250

819 * $1,250 = $1,023,750

We find today’s ruling unfortunate, but it has not lessened our resolve to save filtering for families. VidAngel plans to appeal the District Court ruling, and explore options in the bankruptcy court. Our court system has checks and balances, and we are pursing options on that front as well.

 

Disney v VidAngel Trial – Jury Question

2:18 PM MST UPDATE: About 2pm LA Time – Jury sent a request for an exhibit that contains the Family Movie Act. Both sides argued as to the better exhibit to give to the Jury. The Judge decided to send two exhibits back to the Jury room. Both sides got to review the document before it was sent back to the bailiff, who then gives it to the Jury.

There is a very meticulous process for receiving and sending information to the Jury room.

Disney v VidAngel Trial – Day Five Midday Update

This morning the judge reviewed jury instructions and the verdict form with both sides. After hearing the parties’ motions for adjustments to the jury instructions, Judge Birotte welcomed the jury back to the trial. He read them the instructions, after which Ms. Blanca Young presented Disney’s closing argument and Mr. Mark Eisinhut presented VidAngel’s closing argument. Finally, Ms. Young offered a 10 minute rebuttal. Following the argument, the bailiff was sworn into office to ensure that no one interacts with the jury until their verdict has been reached.

 

We are now waiting for the jury to deliberate. Thanks to all for your support and prayers.

Disney v VidAngel Trial – Continued to Monday

Four witnesses testified yesterday, after which the parties “rested” and the judge asked us to return at 8:45am on Monday morning.  Here’s how Friday went:

Liz Ellis completed her testimony following a relatively brief cross-examination and short re-direct.

Called David Quinto to testify next.  He explained his history representing intellectual property owners and then described how he analyzed the Family Movie Act.  He also explained the events that led up to the enactment of the FMA and the various notifications VidAngel had sent to the studios.  Kelly Klaus attempted to impeach him by saying that he had a reputation for being “aggressive” and suggesting that the pre-litigation letters he sent to the studios asking them to advise VidAngel of any complaints they had concerning its service were “set-up” letters.  Quinto responded by testifying that it is a lot less expensive to avoid conflict than to engage in it.

Jeffrey Harmon testified next, describing his life growing up in a small town, his family’s desire to watch clean content, and the prohibition he and his siblings had on watching pg-13 content until they were 17.  He further testified concerning the harms that watching unfiltered content can cause, his personal interest in watching clean content, and the honesty of his brother Neal who spent 7 years re-paying investors in a failed venture even though he had no legal obligation to do so.  He also testified that Harmon Brothers provided marketing services to VidAngel at cost.

Finally, plaintiffs’ expert Robin Russell testified again, this time to rebut testimony given yesterday by VidAngel expert Jeff Kinrich.  Her criticism focused largely on Mr. Kinrich’s failure to account for black-out periods in his analysis of the studios’ lost profits.

Following her testimony, the parties rested.  The court then heard argument on proposed jury instructions before directing counsel to return at 8:45 a.m. Monday for further discussion of the jury instructions and verdict forms, to be followed by instructions to the jurors (ordered to report at 9:30) and closing arguments.  After that, the jurors will begin their deliberations.

 

 

Disney v VidAngel Trial – Day Two Update and Day Three Schedule

Day 2 of the trial consisted of three testimonies. We heard from William Barnett, Jarom McDonald, and ended the afternoon with a testimony from Neal Harmon.

*The court issued an order excluding witnesses from the trial, which prevents them from having access to the testimony of other witnesses before they testify. Unfortunately, this means we can’t give you access to the daily transcripts yet. But the process is meant to achieve justice so we, of course, will respect it.*

For those of you in the area, we would love to have you join us this week. Today, June 13th will be in Courtroom 7B and is scheduled to begin at 9:00 A.M. and will go until 3:00 P.M. You are not required to stay the whole day – please feel free to come whenever your schedule allows.

For those of you not in the area, we are grateful for the support you have given from wherever you are! We appreciate all of the uplifting comments, good vibes and prayers that have been sent our way.

Disney v VidAngel Trial – Day One Update and Day Two Schedule

We meant to publish this last night, apologies for the tardiness and thank you for the messages you’ve all sent supporting us. Also, thank you to those who came yesterday.

Day One Update

Here’s what I remember happening on day one:

 

  • – The judge wished our Chief Legal Officer, David Quinto, a happy birthday

 

  • – After hearing argument from both sides, Judge Birotte decided that Disney can seek DMCA damages as well as copyright damages, but that both will be decided by the jury

 

  • – Jury members were selected to create a fair and impartial jury – this was the most interesting part of the day.
    • – – Judge Birotte gave a stirring speech on the right to a trial by jury granted by the United States constitution, shared about his immigration from Haiti and thanked the jurors for being there. (I felt a lot of gratitude for our country during this part)
    • – – Twenty potential jurors came to the courtroom and sixteen of them were called at random to sit in the jury box and answer questions
    • – – Those he asked individual and group questions to allow the parties to learn about them
    • – – One juror asked to answer a question privately and the judge created a static sound and met with the judge off to the side (the court reporter still recorded what was being said)
    • – – After a fair amount of discussion with counsel from both sides (again with the static sound playing), the judge eliminated eight jury members
    • – – 8 jury members were then sworn in

 

  • – Judge presented the format, which is:
    • – – 20 minute opening statements from both sides
    • – – up to 6.5 hours of evidence and cross-examination from the Disney
    • – – up to 6.5 hours of evidence and cross-examination from VidAngel
    • – – rebuttal evidence from Disney if time permits
    • – – 40 minute closing statement from Disney
    • – – 40 minute closing statement from VidAngel
    • – – 10 minute rebuttal from Disney

 

  • – Two witnesses were called to the stand to testify for the studios:
    • – – Robert Schumann – expert on technology – about 1 hour for testimony and cross-examination
    • – – Tracy Myers – representative from Warner Bros. – about 30 minutes for testimony and cross-examination

 

The court issued an order excluding witnesses from the trial, which prevents them from having access to the testimony of other witnesses before they testify. Unfortunately for customers and fans, this means we can’t give you access to the daily transcripts yet. But the process is meant to achieve justice so we, of course, will respect it.

 

So that’s all the detail I can muster for now. Join us in the courtroom to experience the trial first hand.

 

Evidence Time Remaining:

Disney: about 5 hours 30 minutes

VidAngel: about 6 hours

Day Two Schedule

Time: 1:30pm-5pm

Location: United States Courthouse, Courtroom 7B, West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA