VidAngel offers new filtering service, hopes it doesn’t get sued again

Posted at 8:38 AM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 10:38:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah-based movie filtering company VidAngel has launched a new service that offers to filter nudity, profanity and other objectionable content from films being streamed on Netflix, Amazon, HBO and other services.

VidAngel’s new service promises to take the sex out of “Sense8,” the violence out of “Breaking Bad” and, well, just about everything out of “Game of Thrones.”

But will it get them sued again?

“We hope not,” the company said in a FAQ posted on its website. “After all, we are driving new customers and new business to them.”

A screen grab of VidAngel’s latest service offering to filter shows from Netflix, Amazon and HBO. (Image courtesy VidAngel)

In a much-hyped announcement on Tuesday night, VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon unveiled the new filtering subscription service, which would go over the top of a streaming service like Netflix or HBO GO that a customer already pays for.

In theory, it would be a workaround the issues that got VidAngel sued in the first place.

Watch VidAngel’s announcement here:

Warner Bros., 20th Century FOX, Disney and LucasFilm are suing VidAngel for copyright violations over its filtering service. They successfully persuaded a federal judge to order VidAngel to cease filtering and streaming.

VidAngel argued that it is not violating copyright laws, because customers actually physically own the discs that are filtered when they order through the online-based service. VidAngel has asked California’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn that judge’s ruling.

In an emailed statement Harmon said VidAngel planned to go back to federal court on Monday to see if the judge will allow the new service for Disney’s content.

“During the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing last week, Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz asked Don Verrilli, former U.S. Solicitor General and now Disney’s new attorney, about a potential alternative entertainment filtering technology that doesn’t implicate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Disney responded that if VidAngel had a new system, it should present it to the District Court in order to modify the injunction,” Harmon said in the statement. “We’ve built a new system, and next Monday we plan to file a motion with the District Court as Disney recommended.”