VidAngel Seeks Salvation for Filtering Service in Utah Federal Court

VidAngel Commercial - Screenshot - H 2017

Having suffered a string of legal defeats, VidAngel is hoping to have better luck in a Utah courtroom. On Thursday, VidAngel brought a lawsuit against a host of entertainment companies and is seeking declaratory relief that its streaming service that filters profanity, sex, violence and more from movies is permissible by law.

VidAngel's older technology has been enjoined by a California judge who determined it was likely that Warner Bros, Disney and 20th Century Fox would prevail on copyright claims. VidAngel couldn't convince the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Family Home Movie Act of 2005 provides an exemption to essentially hack DVDs and Blu-Rays. The company's antitrust counterclaims were also dismissed, and VidAngel hasn't gotten anywhere in prevailing upon that California judge to clarify the injunction to permit a new iteration of the filtering technology that focuses on the filtering of licensed streaming services like Amazon Instant Video.

So now, VidAngel is trying a new tactic.

The newest complaint doesn't target any of the plaintiffs in the California action, but rather their affiliates — Marvel, Fox Broadcasting Company, Castle Rock Entertainment, etc. Additionally, MGM Studios is a defendant too.

On home turf, in a more conservative-minded state, VidAngel looks to get relief by presenting some of the same or similar allegations and arguments that came in California. The company reprises its version of the enaction of the FMA and describes both versions of its technology. 

The lawsuit seems likely to raise various challenges from res judicata (already judged) to the argument it more properly belongs in California where a legal proceeding is already underway.

Here's the complaint.