Disney, others file to block VidAngel from 'squandering assets' following $62M damages ruling

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  • Light and Liberty St George, UT
    June 27, 2019 5:46 p.m.

    RebelScum: I agree the best way to not support Disney or any other company marketing a movie that you don't like is to not pay to watch it. However, not being a lawyer, this whole issue smacks of lack of common sense and also a lack of respect for those wanting to purchase a movie, have someone else edit for me, and pay for the right to watch it how I want to watch it. This happens all the time in a free market system. This is a happening in every instance from whether I go to an expensive hamburger joint or any number of other hamburger joints that offer something for less. I can choose which one I want to go to. Hollywood, who prides itself on showing us their version of reality can't take it if someone wants their own version of reality, including editing out of 'family' movies something that shouldn't be there to begin with, and shouldn't restrain someone from watching what they want, however they want, in whatever form they want, without hurting the feelings of an actor, producer, or director that can't bear to not have someone accept everything emanating from their self absorbed being. Oh, wait a minute. they show edited movies on airplanes. Arrogant airlines?

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    June 27, 2019 12:15 p.m.

    TheFrostyBoss "The original copyright term was 14 years, with an optional 14 year renewal. That has ballooned to a ridiculous 120 years, purchased from Congress by the studios. It's even more egregious when protections are extended for content that already exists (e.g. Mickey Mouse, see the Copyright Term Extension Act)."

    One of the great "accomplishments" by Senator Orrin Hatch.

  • DKC Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2019 6:15 p.m.

    adamz - West Valley, UT

    Just Imagine how many engineers & additional filtering Dept employees ClearPlay could have hired and Imagine how advanced they would be today if even half of VidAngel users had supported “Legal Filtering”!
    Hmmm something to ponder! 🧐

  • Frank Walters Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2019 1:30 p.m.

    Please don't bother DryBar Comedy

  • RebelScum Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2019 1:24 p.m.

    It seems as though the companies who alter movies etc. just can't get it through their heads that it's not their right to do that. I wonder how they would feel if they spent a lot of time and money making something only to have Disney or someone else alter it to fit what they want. If people don't want to watch certain movies because of their content then don't. It's really that simple. Vote against the big studios with your wallet. But don't make a market for something that's just plain wrong in the first place.

  • davidmpark Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2019 12:05 p.m.

    Disney and other media change their products for overseas markets all the time. Just make a version that comports to our community standards. Easy.

  • the_perfect_day Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2019 9:31 a.m.

    adamz - West Valley, UT
    "Competition is good for customers."

    Yes, competition is good. Illegal competition is not good for anyone.

    It causes marketplace confusion and misplaces resources for the category.

  • TheFrostyBoss ALEXANDRIA, VA
    June 24, 2019 9:00 a.m.

    The loophole exists, but they went about it illegally (e.g. by ripping the DVD, rather than finding a way to stream it from a physical DVD player to someone's TV, even if both versions of the service are functionally the same). VidAngel is definitely a little shady, more for some of their business decisions than trying to leverage this loophole.

    At any rate, Disney and their legal team is the real cancer here. They pirate billions of dollars from the public domain every year. The Progress Clause of the Constitution reads: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." That is, patents and copyright protections exist to promote the public interests (by ensuring individuals have an incentive to publish), not solely to enrich copyright holders. The original copyright term was 14 years, with an optional 14 year renewal. That has ballooned to a ridiculous 120 years, purchased from Congress by the studios. It's even more egregious when protections are extended for content that already exists (e.g. Mickey Mouse, see the Copyright Term Extension Act).

  • adamz West Valley, UT
    June 23, 2019 10:30 p.m.

    ...the sad thing is, now we're stuck with only ClearPlay, which, while staying legal, is clearly not customer-friendly. We're still waiting for filters from Clearplay for TV shows 5+ years old, while Vidangel consistently could create new, well-made filters within a week (sometimes days!) after release. Don't bother complaining to ClearPlay. They never do anything about it. Just look at the comments section on their website for shows like Homeland.

    Competition is good for customers. Now with Vidangel leaving ClearPlay will have a monopoly and will have no reason to improve.

  • adamz West Valley, UT
    June 23, 2019 10:21 p.m.

    I'm a fan of what Vidangel currently is. However, people who are saying this is about "bullying" or even '"anti-filtering" are missing the full picture regarding copyright law and business. This lawsuit came about because of two things (the 1st being most important):

    1) Vidangel began with a VERY flimsy and questionable interpretation of copyright law that, any lawyer could and should have told them, did not pass any reasonable standard. Buying DVDs and them streaming them blatantly violates multiple copyright laws. But in their hubris, they didn't care. This lawsuit seeks damages for the period of time in which Vidangel did this.

    2) Vidangel began with a very antagonistic and aggressive anti-Hollywood campaign. They openly attacked studios for their storylines and content. Then, LATER, Vidangel changed its tactics and tried to make nice...after they had been sued. They claimed they were working in a partnership. This is a bit like a steakhouse mocking the entire cattle ranching industry...then trying to apologize and buy meat again. That is just bad business practice.

    In other words Vidangel 1) Broke the law and 2) Poked the beast. No one should be surprised by this outcome.

  • Trouble South Jordan, UT
    June 23, 2019 9:56 p.m.

    Disney and the other plaintiffs needs to be careful with their most recent lawsuit. Yes, through some creative arguing they managed to convince a judge that VidAngel owes them for copyright infringement. Now they're trying to tell VidAngel what to do with its own assets. Their copyright judgement is already on shaky legal ground. They should be content with what they've won and let VidAngel manage their own assets to reorganize under Chapter 11.

  • bassoonlady OREM, UT
    June 23, 2019 9:10 p.m.

    Misty,
    By benefit of the doubt, I meant that just maybe VA honestly believed that they had found a legitimate loophole.
    I appreciate it when people give me the benefit of the doubt, so I like to try and give it to others when I can.
    It's just getting harder and harder with vidangel. The court seems to think that they knew exactly what they were doing, and more and more as the story unfolds I have to agree.

    It's too bad for them, but opens the door for other companies to come in and do it right.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    June 23, 2019 6:49 p.m.

    So the giants are saying the filtering software has value then?

  • DKC Salt Lake City, UT
    June 23, 2019 5:22 p.m.

    VidAngel: It’s Not About Filtering — No matter what Neal S. Harmon says!
    Its about Copyright © Law

    1. Copyright Infringement: The courts believe that the buying and selling of titles on VidAngel doesn’t really transfer ownership for the purpose of first sale. In short, the court believes that the “sale” isn’t real, making the streams an infringement.
    2. DMCA Violations: Second, in order to rip the films and stream them, VidAngel must break the DRM on the DVDs they own. Under the DMCA, such circumvention is an infringement and the Family Movies Act makes no exemption for that.

    Statement from the studios: “Nothing in these provisions prohibit the studios from entering into distribution agreements that allow secondary editing or filtering. ... The DGA [Directors Guild of America] Basic Agreement simply does not speak to filtering, much less prohibit it.”
    The precedent set by the studios seems to be that they aren't “keen” to license to someone who first violates copyright law like VidAngel did , and then asks for a license after they are caught!
    No Do Overs

  • TrueBleuCoug Salem, UT
    June 23, 2019 5:13 p.m.

    I’m all for filtering but why hasn’t VA pivoted it’s business model to an app that uses the viewing device to understand what content is being consumed rather than trying to filter and stream copyrighted material?

    I see an opportunity for the next guys to come in and do this right.

  • An Uncommon Author Woodlyn, PA
    June 23, 2019 4:28 p.m.

    I support VidAngel. Disney failed families with this recent tissy fit and now the world sees them for what they are. What once might have been a childhood institution is now a money grubbing machine.

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    June 23, 2019 4:12 p.m.

    Nonsensical lawsuit from Disney, the lawyers for VidAngel will get paid first leaving nothing else. Seems kind of vindictive on top of not caring about customers! Shame on Disney and the other studios.

  • CKS007 Clearfield, UT
    June 23, 2019 4:12 p.m.

    Just recently the Alliance of American Football started playing games with the hope that the NFL would take interest in them and keep them afloat. As we all saw, the league didn't even complete the initial season.

    VidAngel wants to work with big studios after they launched their service? The studios didn't appear interested and only took to lawsuits after VidAngel started streaming movies that they didn't have the rights to stream.

    If you are going to work with other companies, perhaps you should check to see if they are interested in that type of product before attempting to run with it. As others have pointed out, there were other ways to set up filtering that didn't include stealing intellectual properties and violating streaming rights.

  • Daedalus, Stephen Arvada, CO
    June 23, 2019 4:07 p.m.

    @3grandslams: "Clearly VidAngel found a loophole in the laws but they definitely did not break copyright laws..."

    Reality begs to differ.

  • 3grandslams Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 23, 2019 2:03 p.m.

    Vid angel has a brilliant idea, so Disney wants in, the only way to get in with no competition is to eliminate it, take the idea and make millions. Disney will offer the same service if they can get rid of Vid Angel.

    Clearly VidAngel found a loophole in the laws but they definitely did not break copyright laws, only exposed a digital weakness.

  • Gungadin Clinton, UT
    June 23, 2019 12:54 p.m.

    The question, “Are you honest in your dealings with your fellow men?” Should never be answered with the phrase, “Not if they...” or “Yes, but...”.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    June 23, 2019 12:26 p.m.

    I fully support Disney doing everything possible to make an example of VA. It's like the IBM-SCO case. Too many VA supporters believe they are justified in breaking the law because of their good intent.

    I hope Disney winds up with ownership of every patent, copyright, and white board marker.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    June 23, 2019 11:42 a.m.

    Why doesn't someone make a player that can skip oner objectionable content, and can be programmed to do so?

    Had Vidangel done this instead of doing what ever it was that they did, they wouldn't be in the mess they are in now, or is using the fast forward button illegal?

    My advice to Vidangel? Take care of the situation you are in, then start over. Do it legally this time. Make a programmable movie playback machine.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    June 23, 2019 10:38 a.m.

    Here's a novel concept. Obey "Thou shalt not steal" and you won't be found guilty in court.
    Committing crimes to build a business is not a good model for success.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    June 23, 2019 10:25 a.m.

    wwookie writes,

    "Users of VidAngel had to have purchased their own copies of the Disney flick....I hope there is something else we’re all missing, or maybe the reporting over the last few years on this has really been poor. "

    As has been reported many times: The customers did NOT purchase their own copies. VidAngel purported to "sell" them a copy of the movie for $20 but allowed them to "return" it the next day for a $19 refund. But the actual, tangible copy was never produced, let alone sold and then returned.

    If you have a problem with Hollywood movies, I can understand your wanting VidAngel to have been aboveboard in its dealings. We all want the good guys, or the people we think are the good guys, to win. But dissing the DN for "really poor" reporting-- after the side you wanted to win ended up losing spectacularly-- is totally out of line. I don't read the DN every day but I've had no trouble keeping up on the story, and have had no problems with the DN reporting it accurately.

  • J2 Riverton, UT
    June 23, 2019 10:02 a.m.

    To me it looks like Disney is just being a bully.

    What a shame.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    June 23, 2019 9:58 a.m.

    bassoonlady writes, "Even knowing their service was on the wrong side of the law, I still kind of wanted to give vidangel the benefit of the doubt. "

    I'm not sure what "doubt" you had if you knew that they were, indeed, operating illegally. Are you saying that lawbreaking is OK if it's done for (what you judge to be) a good cause?

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 23, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    @byufootballrocks wrote,

    "This just demonstrates real bullying tactics by Disney and their allies, you think it would be beneath them.

    They seem to not only want to win the case but absolutely destroy and humiliate VidAngel and it's principal players. Make an example of them, that's the idea - it's despicable."

    Say what?

    I don't have an inside channel to the mind of Disney--from your comment, it appears that you do. In previous posts you've made it clear that you supported the product that VidAngel sold (filtered movies). But I can't reconcile your support of "morality" with your condemnation of Disney for seeking to overturn what appears to be a transparent attempt by VidAngel to keep its assets away from legal creditors. This isn't any different from a person who has been hit with a child support judgment who then tries to transfer ownership of his house (for free, or for much less than the market value) to a friend so that it cannot be seized to pay the judgment.

    If it humiliates VidAngel to have this questionable transfer brought to light, perhaps they shouldn't have done it. Do you disagree?

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    June 23, 2019 9:32 a.m.

    There is no justice

    Think about it.... the $72 million is for copyright infringement, but how does that amount represent damages? There are none.

    Users of VidAngel had to have purchased their own copies of the Disney flick. So far, no damages. But now you have the fact the majority of these users would never have purchased the flick in the first place without VidAngel available to them. so now we actually have a benefit to Disney, not damages.

    I hope there is something else we’re all missing, or maybe the reporting over the last few years on this has really been poor.

    And if there hasn’t been a judgment made, then Disney isn’t a creditor. Once a creditor, it’s then under bankruptcy law chapter 11.

    It’s obvious VidAngel is moving (not “hiding”) assets. It shows the unethical approach Disney’s lawyers are taking in the language they use, trying to create a fictitious storyline in which VidAngel is being sneaky about this.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    June 23, 2019 9:00 a.m.

    Disney and the rest sabotaged the Fair Use portion of the law by successfully making it a criminal act to examine/crack the technical copy-protection.

    If you have a purchased retail movie original stashed for safekeeping (because of concerns about little fingers, dirt, scratches, magnets, whatever) and actually use a back-up copy, that is OK under Fair Use.

    But then you are a vile criminal because you made a copy.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    June 23, 2019 8:57 a.m.

    How anyone could possibly defend VidAngel in this, and find fault with Disney for defending their intellectual property, is difficult to fathom.

  • debunker Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 23, 2019 8:56 a.m.

    But no transaction has happened, let alone a "sham transaction". VidAngel asked the bankruptcy court for permission to make the transfer EXACTLY as it should do if it wants to move assets. That's how Chapter 11 works!

    Trying to force chapter 7 because VidAngel asked permission to move an asset is just another blatant move by Disney to try and kill off the world's only filtering service that isn't relegated to DVD players and computer browsers.

  • DKC Salt Lake City, UT
    June 23, 2019 3:49 a.m.

    Vid Angel admits rip discs for new service
    Warner Bros., Disney and Fox point to a declaration from VidAngel general counsel David Quinto where he describes how VidAngel purchases a motion picture from a service like Amazon Video before the film is tagged and a copy is then saved to a cloud storage location. 
    "[I]t appears from Mr. Quinto’s declaration that VidAngel itself is streaming from its own 'master' copies of works that VidAngel has created on its own servers rather than layering its filters over an authorized stream from the licensed streaming services," writes Glenn Pomerantz, attorney for the studios. "In other words, VidAngel indisputably itself is publicly performing works to its users."

    I Support Legal Filtering

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    June 22, 2019 10:17 p.m.

    Disney is ensuring that no one will mess with the Hollywood Language and smut they are trying to push. What would Walt Disney say?

  • byufootballrocks Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2019 9:18 p.m.

    This just demonstrates real bullying tactics by Disney and their allies, you think it would be beneath them.

    They seem to not only want to win the case but absolutely destroy and humiliate VidAngel and it's principal players. Make an example of them, that's the idea - it's despicable.

  • TexInUT Midvale, UT
    June 22, 2019 9:11 p.m.

    I made a comment in the last story about VidAngel getting liquidated from 'patents to office chairs'. Moves like these are the reasons why they may be doomed. They were already found guilty of breaking copyright laws and this will not help them stay afloat.

    And before anyone laments that VidAngel was just trying to provide 'clean' product, remember that they initially did it by not having streaming agreements with the studios and they circumvented the copy protection laws of the DMCA while doing it. If from day one they had been more like 'nanny apps or boxes' that use time codes to jump past offending scenes or language, VidAngel would not be in court.

    Finally, if you want to bring 'real change' in the entertainment industry, stop partaking in their 'objectable' movies, TV shows, music and quit buying their merchandise. Also, if they have theme parks, quit going there. This gets them out of two places they really want to be: your life and checking account.

    Spend your money with those that align with your values and needs. If enough people do this, the entertainment industry will start catering to you and those like you. Breaking the law just gets you in trouble.

  • Sutton Cedar City, UT
    June 22, 2019 7:41 p.m.

    Red Smith - , 00

    "Since Walt Disney passed, Disney has gone down hill. Don't plan on watching Disney movies or going to Disney land ever again."

    Disney made 55 billion last year....I think they'll be fine.

  • bassoonlady OREM, UT
    June 22, 2019 7:41 p.m.

    Even knowing their service was on the wrong side of the law, I still kind of wanted to give vidangel the benefit of the doubt.
    This makes it much harder. And it makes it harder for the companies that are trying to do it right.
    Not all filtering companies operate outside of the law.

  • stanfunky Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2019 4:05 p.m.

    $6 million vs. $3.9 million.
    On a $62 million judgement.
    Seems that Disney knew all along they wouldn't be getting any money from VidAngel.
    Perhaps they are simply trying to capitalize on what VidAngel offered, when they release their Disney+ service this fall? I would be surprised if they don't include some form of filtering with it. Leaks from the inside suggest they are planning as much.

  • northland55 Provo, UT
    June 22, 2019 2:25 p.m.

    This is fraudulent. When it rains it pours.

  • QuantCommenter salt lake city, UT
    June 22, 2019 2:03 p.m.

    VidAngel appears to be dishonest and unaccountable to the very end.

  • Red Smith , 00
    June 22, 2019 1:43 p.m.

    Since Walt Disney passed, Disney has gone down hill. Don't plan on watching Disney movies or going to Disney land ever again.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    June 22, 2019 1:32 p.m.

    While their product is attempting to provide a moral product, VidAngel’s business practices continue to demonstrate unethical and immoral behavior.
    They broke the law, got caught and convicted, and are now trying to avoid their punishment.
    I liked their service and other filtering options but that doesn’t give VidAngel an excuse to act unethically and illegally.

  • ClearPlay Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2019 1:30 p.m.

    Please note that this transaction has nothing to do with the ClearPlay company. Bill Aho has not worked for ClearPlay in over a decade.