Video filtering company VidAngel has been ordered to pay Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. $62.4 million in damages after a Los Angeles U.S. District Court ruling.
VidAngel, launched in 2013, is an entertainment platform that was created to help families filter out language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV series. The independent company made national news in 2016 when Walt Disney Co., Lucasfilms, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. all filed a lawsuit against it, claiming the video streaming service was infringing on their copyrighted material.
The Hollywood studios originally sought about $120 million in damages because they claimed VidAngel had committed willful copyright infringement. The punishment for that would result in a maximum penalty of $150,000 per movie title. In total, the Provo, Utah-based filtering company streamed about 800 titles owned by the studios.
VidAngel argued that it sought legal advice before launching the company and operated within the law. In court on Monday, the company’s defense was that VidAngel “committed innocent infringement and should, therefore, be required to pay much less,” according to ksl.com.
Nevertheless, the filtering company was found guilty of willful infringement but is only required to pay $75,000 per movie title, and an additional $1 million fine for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
“We disagree with today’s ruling and have not lessened our resolve to save filtering for families one iota,” VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon said in a statement shared with The Christian Post. “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 pursuing options on that front as well.”
The Parents Television Council also issued a statement following the ruling in Disney v. VidAngel.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law