Hollywood Studios’ Battle With VidAngel Moves to Appeals Court

Platform that allows users to filter language, nudity, violence and other content from movies and TV shows was under a preliminary injunction

Last Updated: December 29, 2016 @ 8:03 PM

VidAngel has turned to the Court of Appeals in their legal battle with Disney, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm, requesting an emergency stay that would enable them to get back in the business of enabling users to filter language, nudity, violence and other content from movies and TV shows.

A U.S. district judge of Central California granted a preliminary injunction on mid-December against the streaming service, who was accused of illegally ripping DVDs and streaming without a license. Thursday, Judge Andre Birotte Jr. denied VidAngel’s request to halt enforcement of 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,” VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon said in a statement. “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.”

The Provo, Utah-based start-up allows people to stream cleaned-up versions of movies including “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Deadpool” for $1 each by filtering out unwanted language, sex and nudity.

In the complaint, the studios asked the court to block VidAngel from violating their copyrights, the L.A. Times reported.

Having gained support from families and religious groups for offering sanitized films, VidAngel managed to bypass copyright regulations by allowing users to purchase new movies for $20.

Then the consumer could sell back the movie for a $19 credit — thus only spending $1 on a movie rental, which is far cheaper than other online rental services.