Last week, Walmart’s VUDU announced a new feature called “Family Play Mode” which automatically skips sex, violence, profanity, and drug use in 500 movies. This is the most significant development in parental and family content skipping since we launched VidAngel in 2013.
Here is what we know so far:
– They offer Disney content
– They are supporting modern streaming devices like iOS, Android, XBOX One and a few smart TVs
– They offer 500 PG and PG-13 titles
– Filmmaker discussion boards online have exploded in shock and anger.
– Commenters across social media are predicting that Family Play will be shut down by pressure from the DGA.
– When Sony announced a similar initiative back in 2017, they were attacked by the Directors Guild of America and leading Hollywood content-makers. Eventually, due to significant pressure, took “Clean Version” down.
We congratulate VUDU and Walmart on being the first major player to catch the vision of skipping.
Thursday night, the original 2016 preliminary injunction against VidAngel was ruled “permanent” — but with legally questionable modifications (here’s the order and the ruling). In January 2017, we shut down our old system and have never since used it to offer anyone’s content. Instead, we pioneered a new system, but never offered Disney’s content on it. We advised the court that we had not used the old system in any way for more than 32 months and “unequivocally” committed never to use it again absent a change in the law. But the judge nevertheless issued the new injunction.
Perplexingly, the judge granted Disney’s unusual (and legally questionable) request to broaden the injunction to include “parents, affiliates and subsidiaries,” and did so without requiring even that Disney identify those additional entities.
As we have done in the past, we will proceed with the utmost caution. We are removing the titles that are seemingly subject to the injunction. Once again we don’t know for sure which ones are because of the vagueness of the ruling. However, we know ABC and Hulu are owned by Disney and HBO is owned by TimeWarner, which also owns Warner Bros. Late last night we also removed Castle Rock. We have asked the studios if there are more entities now protected by the new injunction and await their answer.
In light of this development, might we suggest that now is the time to reach out to your senator and/or Congressional representative to urge that they support the bill to update the Family Movie Act to permit filtering of all movies?
Senator Mike Lee is preparing to introduce an update to the Family Movie Act in the Senate. This important message from the CEO of VidAngel, Neal Harmon, and a letter from the President of the Parents Television Council, Tim Winter, explains how you can help.
As a parent, nothing is more important than protecting a child’s innocence.
And, as a veteran of the entertainment industry, the truth is that there are many in Hollywood who are actively engaged in creating content that strips that innocence away from our kids, damaging lives forever.
You know this already, that’s why you use and support VidAngel, because its incredible content filtering technology protects your family. The Parents Television Council wants to protect your right to filter out the graphic sex, violence and profanity that is so pervasive in today’s media, but I need your help.
Hollywood is fighting to remove your parental right to use content filtering technology for modern streaming devices. They’ve convinced judges that you shouldn’t be able to use modern technologies to protect your family from material that you find harmful or offensive.
Legislation is being considered in Washington DC that will block the negative forces in Hollywood from taking away your right to use filtering technologies like VidAngel. If that legislative remedy is to succeed, we need bipartisan support from the most influential legislators. That’s why your senator needs to hear from you today.
First a refresher on bankruptcy – Chapter 11 means VidAngel still serves its customers and Chapter 7 means VidAngel is shut down.
We’ve reached an agreement with the studios to appoint a chapter 11 trustee in exchange for:
1) Withdrawing the studios’ chapter 7 motion
2) Under Bankruptcy law, the studios can elect whoever they choose if they don’t like the trustee that is appointed, but under this agreement, they only choose from four people we’ve agreed on in advance.
We decided to do this because we think it will allow an objective third party help us get through the chapter 11 reorganization process with more favorable results for the future of VidAngel. And it will save money that would have been spent on legal bills.
We are turning our sights to successful reorganization with the help of a trustee rather than spending unnecessary time and money fighting the studios’ motions. We’re optimistic about our prospects for reorganization.