VidAngel sues studios, asking judge to declare its movie filtering methods legal

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah-based movie filtering service VidAngel, in the midst of a lawsuit filed against it by four Hollywood studios, is now doing the suing. The Provo company has filed a lawsuit against a number of Hollywood studios, asking a judge to declare its services legal.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, “VidAngel seeks a declaration as to each service that it is lawful pursuant to either or both the Family Movie Act of 2005… or the copyright ‘fair use’ doctrine.”

Among the studios VidAngel is suing: Sullivan Entertainment, Marvel, Fox Broadcasting, MGM Studios, Castle Rock Entertainment and Turner Entertainment.

VidAngel has suffered a series of losses in federal court in Los Angeles in the lawsuit filed against it by Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, LucasFilm and Disney accusing it of copyright violations. Most recently, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a restraining order against VidAngel’s streaming and filtering service that effectively shut it down.

VidAngel (image via VidAngel)

The company recently launched a service where it would filter sex, violence, language and nudity for subscribers over the top of existing streaming services like Amazon, HBO Go or Netflix.

Salt Lake City may be a friendlier venue for the Provo company. VidAngel said in its lawsuit that it wants a determination of the legality of the services, especially after being threatened with further litigation by some of those studios.

“VidAngel’s filtering service has a transformative effect on motion pictures and facilitates permissible space-shifting. Removal of mature content has such a powerful transformative effect that only then will certain audiences watch those movies. Religious convictions, and parental views about what is appropriate for children, are real and powerful and in fact matter more to VidAngel’s customers than anything else about a particular title,” the lawsuit says.

“VidAngel’s transformative filtering does not undermine the value of or market for Defendants’ works. To the contrary, VidAngel’s service benefits Defendants’ bottom line by expanding their potential audience to include consumers who would not purchase a disc or an LSS stream of their titles absent a convenient filtering and streaming service.”

Read the lawsuit here: