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Utah GOP Special Election Candidates Back VidAngel

Utah-based content-filtering company VidAngel has gotten the Republican contenders for the Aug. 12 special election for a seat in the House of Representatives to publicly proclaim their support for content filtering.

Provo Mayor John Curtis was joined onstage by state rep. Chris Herrod and businessman Tanner Ainge at VidAngel's Dry Bar comedy venue in Provo in advance of their Tuesday special election primary for the seat of former Third District Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

All supported the company from the stage as they "introduced" themselves to voters (mixing in some attempts at standup that demonstrated why they had gotten into politics instead of show business): “We’ve got to fix this filtering problem," said Curtis. “I think it’s time that we do something in Washington, DC to stand up and help VidAngel and other filtering services so that we can make our own choice in our own home about the media we want to watch," said Ainge, who called himself a fan and a subscriber. "I like to be able to control what I have in the house, and so I am grateful for VidAngel," said Herrod.

Related: VidAngel Flies Again, With Different Wings

VidAngel argues that the Family Movie Act gives it the right to pay for copies of films, edit them and then distribute them to users. The studios argue it is illegally circumventing copy protections, modifying and streaming their content, and preempting their windows for releasing their content online, and took the company to court to, successfully, block it.

VidAngel asserts a right under a pro-filtering statute, though in the wake of lawsuits by Hollywood studios and a court injunction it has changed its business model to an app-based filter for content already distributed online, though not from any of the studios suing it—Disney, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm.

The courts have yet to rule on whether the new model is okay.

VidAngel has suffered a couple of recent court setbacks, but appears undeterred in its mission to provide versions of videos with the sex, violence and cussing cut out.

John Eggerton
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.