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CA Court Orders VidAngel to Pay More Than $62 Million to Major Movie Studios in Copyright Trial   

06-18-2019
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Melissa Henson, program director for the Parent's Television Council, appeared on Tuesday's CBN Newswatch program to discuss the court's ruling. 

The streaming service VidAngel has been ordered to pay more than $62 million to four Hollywood film studios.

The judge ruled the company violated the studios' copyrights by streaming filtered versions of their movies.    

A federal jury in California ruled Monday that the streaming company must pay $62.4 million in damages to four studios that accused it of copyright infringement.

In a joint statement the studios, which include Disney, Fox and Warner Brothers said: 

"The jury today found that VidAngel acted willfully, and imposed a damages award that sends a clear message to others who would attempt to profit from unlawful infringing conduct at the expense of the creative community."

VidAngel allows users to filter explicit content from movies.

Many conservative families and religious leaders who say there is too much sex, violence, and bad language in feature films support the streaming service.

But the company has been in an uphill legal fight for several years.

CBN News previously reported that the company came under fire in 2016 when the studios filed copyright infringement and piracy lawsuits.

VidAngel lost that part of their legal battle in 2017 but was able to stay afloat by switching their services to filter content from companies such as Netflix, and Amazon.

VidAngel executives argued the firm was protected from piracy accusations by a 2005 law called the Family Movie Act, which allows DVDs to be edited or transmitted during playback with DVD-sanitizing technology to create a censored version of that movie.

In a statement released Monday, VidAngel Founder Neal Harmon responded to this latest ruling.

"We disagree with today's ruling and have not lessened our resolve to save filtering for families one iota," Harmon said. "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."  

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