For those of you in the area, here is the information for day 4 of the trial. We hope to see you there!
An update is coming soon for day 3. Stay tuned!
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.
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.
Here’s what I remember happening on day one:
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
Location: United States Courthouse, Courtroom 7B, West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA
Thank you so much for your continued support for VidAngel!
For those in the Los Angeles area, we want to invite you to join us June 11th – 14th at the United States Courthouse in Los Angeles for the trial.
We believe in strength and numbers, and would love to have you there to support us! You are not required to stay the whole day – please feel free to come whenever your schedule allows.
Start times are subject to change based on the Judge’s schedule, so we will send you an update each night to let you know what time the trial will begin the next morning.
If you are unable to attend the trial, but would like updates, check back here daily for an overview of what is going on. We will be updating our blog daily during the week of the trial.
If you believe in a higher power, please send prayers! If not, please send all the positive vibes sent our way. We appreciate you all so much.
Co-founder & CEO
Wednesday night, a Los Angeles Federal Judge ruled that VidAngel is liable for copyright infringement for having used a disc-based model during 2015-16. The court also refused to modify what we believe is an unconstitutionally broad injunction that is keeping VidAngel from streaming Disney (Fox) and Warner Bros. content using our new system, which means we still cannot filter many titles on modern devices.
We find the Court’s rulings, and the implications of those rulings troubling. Despite these setbacks, we plan to appeal. The trial is currently scheduled for June 11th, where a jury will decide damages (more detail in the questions listed below).
We pray that where a door has closed, a window will open. Meanwhile we offer all the great non-Disney content like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sony, Universal, Paramount, Lionsgate and many more when you connect your VidAngel account to your Netflix or Amazon account.
Despite the setback in the courts, VidAngel continues forward with its successful business.
We thank the millions who have and continue to use and support VidAngel, who have more recently enjoyed watching or listening to Dry Bar Comedy, and those who have now backed our original TV series called The Chosen. We will continue to improve the ways in which we try to help you make entertainment good for your home for decades to come.
It’s your home. We are your guest. And we remain committed to earning your trust.
Co-founder and CEO
We created VidAngel to help you make entertainment good for your home. As parents ourselves, we needed better home-friendly media options for our own families.
Since 2013, we have tried multiple methods to skip and mute content (Chromecast, YouTube, Google Play licensing, DVDs and Blu-rays, asking the studios and now by connecting to Netflix or Amazon Prime), and later making content ourselves based on what we learned from you (Dry Bar Comedy and The Chosen).
In July 2015, when we developed a new technology, we wrote the studios asking both for feedback and for them to partner with us; they said nothing. We launched our fourth attempt at a service (after the previous three hit insurmountable studio roadblocks) and over a million Americans signed up. According to UCLA professor Doug Litchman, VidAngel users skipped everything from the “f-word” (26,425,075 times) to the Lord’s name in vain (25,856,107 times) to violence (12,080,274 times) and nudity (5,009,513 times).
Roughly a year after we had asked them to partner with us, Disney finally responded… by suing us in federal court, alongside Fox (whom Disney later acquired) and Warner Bros.
The Ninth circuit said ours is a case of “first impression,” which means this issue had never been reviewed or decided by a court.
We were grateful for the incredible outpouring of support when we were sued. Dozens of prominent faith leaders, Members of Congress, and tens of thousands of families families showed up to help. We even had tens of thousands donate to fund the litigation, letting the courts and our elected representatives know where they stand.
Late 2016, Disney succeeded in getting the fourth, disc-based VidAngel system shut down in court. So we built yet another system to connect to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming providers.
A trial is scheduled for June 11th where a jury will decide whether VidAngel’s copyright infringement was innocent, ordinary, or willful, which could result in the following damages:
Finally the jury will also decide the damages for DMCA violations, for which Disney may be awarded between $200 and $2,500 per title.
Disney and others are claiming infringement of approximately 800 titles. Inexplicably, Disney is also asking that we be found to have infringed willfully—which means they claim that we intentionally broke the law. We say we did so innocently, believing that the law protects our service. As has been the case since the lawsuit began, we disagree with Disney.
We are grateful that in the United States of America, we don’t handle disputes like these with fists or guns, but in courts of law, and before a jury of every day people who live and work just like us.
We filed for Chapter 11 protection in Utah to get a temporary reprieve from expensive litigation, allow us to develop our business, and ultimately make the studios whole if we ended up being wrong on the law. After the jury decides damages, a Utah judge will decide our schedule for paying it off. It is wonderful that our country offers Chapter 11 to give companies like Delta, Marvel, and VidAngel a second chance.
Last year, former Representative Mia Love (UT-04) and the entire Utah delegation introduced H.R. 6816 in Congress to help American families watch filtered content on modern devices. Now that she is no longer serving in Congress, we hope to find someone like Mia Love to pick up the baton to get such a law passed in this Congress.
As the fireworks subside celebrating the New Year, it’s time to reflect what we’ve accomplished together at VidAngel in 2018.
The Chosen – closing at midnight tonight – over $8 million* so far!
Finally, today is the final day The Chosen will accept investment agreements. It is conducting an unprecedented 6-hour live streamed marathon tonight beginning at 9pm EST. Join the live stream to ask the director anything you want and have your questions answered in real time.
*Amount raised is an estimate that includes subscriptions and founders’ contribution, however not all such amounts have been accepted or closed, and some subscriptions may not be accepted.
Dry Bar Comedy – Over 1 BILLION views
Our hit comedy series grew explosively in 2018, propelling VidAngel to cash flow positive and prompting a national tour for 2019. It’s hard to describe what a live night at Dry Bar is like so make sure you experience it when it comes to your town.
Here are some of Dry Bar Comedy’s 2018 highlights:
We are in the final stages of FINRA and the SEC regulatory approval for a crowd-funding portal that will allow everyone to support numerous crowd-funded media projects such as The Chosen. There are a number of projects that we haven’t been able to announce yet. However, we plan to officially launch the crowd-funding platform for VidAngel Studios early this year.
Legal Battle #SaveFiltering
The stay (that we were afforded thanks to Chapter 11) has been lifted on the Disney lawsuit and we’re back at it in the courts as a much healthier company. In 2017 we did about $2.7 million (and suffered decreasing cash reserves every month) but in 2018 we did over $7.5 million (and our cash reserves began increasing again). What is most astounding is that we achieved that while filtering only half the content we previously offered on VidAngel!
We plan to fight for the right to filter all content on modern devices until we are confident that the future of filtering is secure. Even without filtering for Disney/Fox/WB content, it is no longer all or nothing because the rest of VidAngel’s business is thriving. And we will continue to ask Congress to clarify the law as we grow.
Finally, we also hope to emerge from Chapter 11 soon, maybe even this year.
Happy New Year!
Thank you for all your support. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to continue fighting to make entertainment good for your home. 2018 was a great year and we expect 2019 to be even better.
We hope to see you any time on The Chosen 6-hour live stream tonight at 6pm PST or 9pm EST.
Onward and upward,
Neal Harmon, Co-founder and CEO
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.
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.
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.
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).
Many thanks to all those who supported us Friday. It was so inspiring to see your faces. We’ll keep you updated.
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
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:
Again, we want to thank our customers and investors for their patience and all their support.
Onward and upward,
Co-founder & CEO
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)
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:
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.
Neal Harmon, Co-founder and CEO