VidAngel fires back at studios, insisting it’s not violating copyright law

SALT LAKE CITY — VidAngel, the Utah-based movie filtering service, is firing back at a lawsuit leveled against it by several Hollywood studios, insisting it is not breaking federal copyright laws.

In a formal response to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court by Disney, LucasFilm, Twentieth Century FOX and Warner Bros., VidAngel stood behind the “Family Movie Act” and said it didn’t need the studios’ permission to filter movies with potentially objectionable content.

“In asking this Court to impose a consent requirement on VidAngel’s filtering service, Plaintiffs are effectively asking that the Court repeal a federal statute enacted to protect American families,” VidAngel attorney Maxwell Blecher wrote.

VidAngel claimed it spends a third of its capital to buy DVDs and Blu-rays, which are then re-sold to its customers. It took issue with claims that it’s a rental service, describing how it operates by selling a disc to a particular customer, who can have it mailed to them or kept in VidAngel’s custody in a vault.

The company said in its filing the customer can keep the disc or re-sell it back to them. VidAngel included pictures of some of the discs as a part of the court filing, including this one:

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“The majority of VidAngel’s purchases represent sales that would not occur but for its filtering service, because most of VidAngel’s customers would not acquire and watch a particular film without filtering,” the company said.

The studios filed a lawsuit against VidAngel, accusing it of not having authorization to use its films and failing to pay them for licensing of the titles. Recently, the film studios asked a federal judge to block VidAngel from operating. VidAngel filed a countersuit and is requesting a jury trial.