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VidAngel has temporarily stopped streaming filtered movies. Here's why

Posted December 31, 2016

Filtering service VidAngel won't have any movies available for streaming for the foreseeable future, company CEO Neal Harmon said in a statement Thursday.

The statement came on the same day that a federal judge denied VidAngel a request for a stay of enforcement against a preliminary injunction order issued earlier in December. Several Hollywood studios are suing VidAngel, saying the service is streaming their films without the rights to do so.

Harmon said the company will stop its filtering service for now. It will also request an emergency stay from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If successful, “the movies will likely be back up within two weeks,” according to VidAngel's website.

“VidAngel has received the District Court’s denial of our stay request and is complying," Harmon said in the statement. "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.”

VidAngel encouraged supporters to visit SaveFiltering.com to help “a grassroots campaign” if they want to see the filtering service continue to operate.

And if all else fails, the company wants to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“We are going to fight so that families can enjoy filtered, streamed content on modern devices. We’ll take this all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary,” Harmon told the Deseret News in a previous phone interview. “We’re happy to pay more. We’re happy to rent more. We’re happy to pay the prices the studios want us to pay. Just give us filtering.”

The studios, including Warner Bros., Disney and Fox, say the case isn’t about filtering. It’s about infringing on copyright. But VidAngel said its streaming service aligns with the 2005 Family Movie Act, which allows people to pause, mute or filter content that they own. VidAngel uses purchased and owned copies of films for its filtering.

More recently, the studios released a statement that said the Utah-based streaming service "continues to illegally stream our content without a license and is expanding its infringement by adding new titles."

“We have brought VidAngel’s indefensible violation of the injunction to the court’s attention," the statement read. "As the court made clear in its order, VidAngel’s unauthorized acts of ripping, copying and streaming our movies and TV shows infringe copyright and violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. VidAngel's filtering of content has nothing to do with the claims against it and does not excuse its illegal activities.”

VidAngel has pledged to create original studio content, which may be a sign of the company’s future.

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