VidAngel Is Back At It

VidAngel announces new version of its platform allowing users to filter Amazon, Netflix, and HBO.

Earlier this week VidAngel announced a new version of its filtering service. This latest iteration allows users to filter Amazon, Netflix, and HBO content.

And now people have questions. Questions like, won’t this just lead to another lawsuit? And, is this new service a violation of the streaming platforms’ terms of service? And, what’s left if you filter Game of Thrones?

Some people call me the voice of the people, an honor and responsibility I do not take lightly, so I brought those questions and more to VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon, and he provided answers.

Harmon explained that the studios have three main concerns that have been brought to light in the current lawsuit:

  1. VidAngel’s old system violates the DMCA (Digital Media Copyright Act).
  2. VidAngel interferes with the studios’ windowing system and the timing of video releases.
  3. VidAngel undercuts the studios’ pricing and the studios do not get a streaming license fee for every viewing of their content.

Then Harmon explained that this new service solves all three of those problems. It does not implicate the DMCA, there’s no decryption required, the platforms get their licensing fees, and there’s no sell back that might undercut pricing.

VidAngel has had communication with Netflix, HBO, and Amazon, and when asked whether the filtering service is in violation of those platforms’ terms of services, Harmon said, “Netflix has never taken a position that VidAngel’s service violates their terms of use in our communications with them.” Harmon explained what VidAngel has done to prevent friction with the streaming services. “We described how service works, and told them we’d be driving them lots of customers.”

Since the announcement, VidAngel has had three times the site traffic they were expecting. When I spoke with Harmon a few months ago, he had let a lot of his team go. Now a lot of those people are back and working to meet the streaming demands. “We had plans for what we would do in our very first month and we doubled those numbers in the very first day,” Harmon said.

A VidAngel press release explains how this new service came to be:

“During the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing last week, Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz asked Don Verrilli, former U.S. Solicitor General and now Disney’s new attorney, about a potential alternative entertainment filtering technology that doesn’t implicate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Disney responded that if VidAngel had a new system, it should present it to the District Court in order to modify the injunction,” said Neal Harmon, CEO of VidAngel. “We’ve built a new system, and next Monday we plan to file a motion with the District Court as Disney recommended.”

“We want the world to know that, for all other titles and all other content not owned by the plaintiffs, parental filtering is back. VidAngel is back.”

The company is, of course, still fighting for the rights to filter the plaintiffs’ content. “We hope in court it’s decided people are given the right to filter,” Harmon said. “We will continue to battle until studios give us a license, or the court gives us the right to filter.”

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