Judge Won't Stay VidAngel Injunction

VidAngel has requested an emergency stay of a court injunction against its video streaming service after a California Central District Court judge denied its request for a stay. In the meantime, it says it has suspended that service, which provides ready-for-filtering online versions of films and TV shows.

VidAngel sought the stay Thursday from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after California district court Judge Andre Birotte Jr. denied its request of the stay of the injunction he had imposed.

The district court has yet to hear the underlying case in a suit filed by Disney, Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros.

“VidAngel has received the District Court’s denial of our stay request and is complying," said VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon. "For the time being, movies will no longer be available for filtering. Because judges rarely grant a stay of their own orders, we fully expected the Court to rule this way, and had already commenced an expedited appeal of the preliminary injunction. VidAngel is now requesting an emergency stay of the injunction from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Earlier this month, the judge told VidAngel to temporarily stop circumventing copyright protections on DVDs or streaming any of that content over the internet.

Utah-based content-filtering company VidAngel argues that it is only giving users the ability to more effectively filter content—skip the nude scenes, mute the language if they choose—in their own homes. The studios argue it is illegally circumventing copy protections, modifying and streaming their content and preempting their windows for releasing their content online. The company says it will continue its fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

The studios claimed earlier this month that VidAngel was continuing to stream content in violation of the injunction. VidAngel countered that it needed more time to comply.

VidAngel, which raised $10 million from investors for legal fees, has pledged to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if need be.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.