VidAngel ordered to pay $62 million in lawsuit

LOS ANGELES — A jury has handed down a $62 million verdict against Utah-based VidAngel in a massive copyright lawsuit.

A jury on Monday found the Provo company guilty of infringing on copyrights of 819 films, awarding $75,000 per work for “copyright award” and $1,250 per work for a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For the 819 works, the total award is $62,448,750.

“We find today’s ruling unfortunate, but it has not lessened our resolve to save filtering for families,” VidAngel wrote in a statement Monday. “VidAngel plans to appeal the District Court ruling, and explore options in the bankruptcy court. Our court system has checks and balances, and we are pursing (sic) options on that front as well.”

VidAngel, a company that offers a subscription service to filter movies for profanity, nudity, violence, sex and other content, faced a lawsuit from Hollywood titans including Disney, LucasFilm, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox. They were accused of violating the movie studios’ copyrights through its service.

Despite VidAngels’ assertion that its filtering was allowed under the Family Movie Act, a federal judge ruled against it in 2015. VidAngel then relaunched itself as a filtering service over the top of streaming services like HBO Go, Amazon and Netflix.

VidAngel has previously argued that a significant verdict could force it into bankruptcy. The company declared bankruptcy in federal court in Utah, seeking to have its service upheld.

In a statement to the Hollywood trade publication Variety, the studios applauded the verdict.

“The jury today found that VidAngel acted willfully, and imposed a damages award that sends a clear message to others who would attempt to profit from unlawful infringing conduct at the expense of the creative community,” the plaintiffs said in the statement.

Fox 13 will update this story as more information becomes available.

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