VidAngel hearing concludes without immediate decision; ruling could come any day

by Michael Foust |

LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) – A federal judge chose not to rule immediately Monday in a major case that could shut down the movie filtering/streaming service VidAngel.

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte told both sides that he was "going to take a little time to review some of my notes" before issuing a ruling, according to Deadline.com. He did not indicate which way he was leaning.

The lawsuit was brought by Disney, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox and Lucasfilm, who say VidAngel is operating illegally without a license. VidAngel's attorneys say the company is legal because it is protected by the Family Movie Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

VidAngel's service allows families to watch filtered movies without sexuality, language and violence.

The studios are asking Birotte for a preliminary injunction that would force VidAngel to halt its streaming service. That was the focus of Monday's hearing.

"VidAngel is on a rock-solid legal foundation because we built our company to strictly comply with the 2005 Family Movie Act, a law that clearly protects and encourages entertainment filtering services, without requiring the permission of major studios," said Neal Harmon, CEO of VidAngel. "Judge Birotte asked thoughtful questions and clearly had reviewed the extensive factual evidence, declarations and briefs from both sides."

Harmon added that VidAngel's legal team, led by David Quinto, "did a first-rate job presenting the facts of the case, detailing why our customers should continue to have the right to filter content as the larger legal process plays out."

"We look forward to the decision of the court," he said.

VidAngel customers pay $20 to purchase a streamed movie, and then can sell it back for $18 (HD) or $19 (SD). Although customers may not realize it, each movie they purchase has a corresponding physical DVD in the VidAngel library. Thus, they temporarily own the movie before selling it back.

It is not known when Birotte will rule.

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