VidAngel goes on offense in Utah following setbacks in California courts

VidAngel

FILE – After suffering a series of legal setbacks in California courts, Provo-based VidAngel has filed a federal complaint in Utah against 12 movie studios and entertainment companies in hopes a Utah jury will settle long-running disputes over filtering.

PROVO — After suffering a series of legal setbacks in California courts, Provo-based VidAngel has filed a federal complaint in Utah against 12 movie studios and entertainment companies, hoping a jury of Beehive State residents will settle long-running disputes over the legality of the company’s video filtering service.

VidAngel claims in its filing in Utah’s U.S. District Court that the 2005 Family Home Movie Act allows for how the company filters and streams content to its customers.

The company outlines three different techniques it has employed for doing this, including its original technique of “ripping” or decrypting content from DVDs and Blue Ray discs purchased from content owners, a new service that began in June of this year wherein the company offers filtering of movies from licensed streaming services, plus an additional method that the company says can accomplish filtering from a disc-based movie without decryption.

The original technique, referred to as the “2015-16 service” by the company in its Utah filing, was enjoined by a federal court in California last December on behalf of four movie studio plaintiffs, including Disney, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox and LucasFilm. VidAngel pursued an appeal of that injunction from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which was rejected in a ruling by a three judge panel in late August.

After launching a new, streaming service-based filtering approach in June, the company filed a motion to clarify the injunction order, claiming the new technique was not in violation of the original injunction. U.S. District Judge André Birotte, Jr. wrote, in his denial of the motion, that “VidAngel’s request for a declaration that their new service doesn’t violate the court’s order is essentially an action for a declaratory judgment and is not appropriate for resolution in a motion to clarify.”

In the current dispute, VidAngel cites an email from one of the defendants,…

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