VidAngel movies unavailable for streaming after judge rules against company again

Posted at 9:23 PM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 23:50:48-05

SALT LAKE CITY — VidAngel, the movie streaming service that filters out profanity, nudity, sex, violence and other content some might deem objectionable from films, has ceased filtering films after a federal judge ordered them to.

The Utah-based company said in a statement on Thursday night that it planned to seek an emergency stay of the judge’s order with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The company also posted on Twitter, stating all of their movies are unavailable.

The company’s attorney said pulling the plug on the service was the only way to reach compliance with the ruling.

“VidAngel has received the District Court’s denial of our stay request and is complying. For the time being, movies will no longer be available for filtering. Because judges rarely grant a stay of their own orders, we fully expected the Court to rule this way, and had already commenced an expedited appeal of the preliminary injunction. VidAngel is now requesting an emergency stay of the injunction from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,” CEO Neal Harmon wrote in a statement to FOX 13.

The decision comes after Judge Andre Birotte Jr. ordered VidAngel to cease filtering for a second time after another round of legal squabbling between Hollywood studios suing VidAngel, accusing the filtering service of adding titles in violation of a court order.

Disney, LucasFilm, Warner Bros. and 20th Century FOX sued VidAngel earlier this year, arguing the movie streaming and filtering subscription service violated its licenses and copyrights. VidAngel has repeatedly insisted it is not breaking the law because its subscribers actually own copies of the films being filtered.

Last month, the judge granted the studios a preliminary injunction and ordered VidAngel to cease filtering while the litigation played out. VidAngel responded by saying it needed until the end of January to comply because of technical issues with various apps. The studios sought a contempt citation.

VidAngel argued that it would suffer a serious financial hardship if it were to be forced to stop filtering movies. The judge ruled that the studios, not VidAngel, were suffering.

“The evidence in the record shows that Plaintiffs’ irreparable harms specifically arise from VidAngel’s unlicensed use of Plaintiff’s works. Allowing VidAngel to continue offering the Plaintiff’s copyrighted works without a license will only increase these harms,” he wrote.

The judge also wrote that he did not believe VidAngel would prevail on appeal, denying their motion for a stay. VidAngel said it would be appealing to the 9th Circuit Court immediately.