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Hollywood studios strike back at VidAngel in latest lawsuit

VidAngel (image via VidAngel)

SALT LAKE CITY — A number of Hollywood studios are asking a federal judge to toss a lawsuit filed by VidAngel or move it to California, where the Utah-based movie filtering service is facing its own litigation.

In a court filing, lawyers representing studios including Marvel, Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting, New World Pictures, Castle Rock Entertainment, New Line Productions, Turner Entertainment, Village Roadshow, MGM and Sullivan Entertainment responded to VidAngel’s lawsuit that seeks to declare its service legal under federal laws.

“This lawsuit is a tactical maneuver in VidAngel’s ongoing effort to escape the adverse rulings against it in the Central District of California and Ninth Circuit,” wrote the studios’ attorney Brent Hatch. “VidAngel hopes to get a ‘do over’ on issues it has litigated and lost in those courts—and to avoid a summary judgment ruling (which VidAngel stands likely to lose imminently) and a damages trial.”

VidAngel was sued last year by Disney, Warner Bros., LucasFilm and Twentieth Century Fox, accused of violating copyrights. Subscribers to the Provo company’s movie filtering service pay a fee to have films filtered with sex, nudity, violence, profanity and other objectionable content scrubbed.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon will appear on “3 Questions with Bob Evans” on Sunday’s FOX 13 News at Nine.

Courts in California have repeatedly ruled against VidAngel. This year, it turned around and filed a lawsuit in Utah against studios seeking to have its service upheld by the courts.

VidAngel recently filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, which also could put a hold on any litigation.

“VidAngel brazenly acknowledges the bankruptcy filing is just another move in its strategy to get away from the courts in California,” Hatch wrote, adding: “VidAngel’s game-playing has been relentless.”

In its many court filings in both lawsuits, VidAngel has repeatedly insisted it does not break any federal laws. In the Utah lawsuit, VidAngel said that its service actually benefits the studios by expanding their audiences and their bottom line.

Read the studios’ court filing here: