The Parents Television Council issued the following statement regarding the ruling in the Disney v. VidAngel court case.
VidAngel, a company that introduced technology allowing users at home to remove or silence instances of graphic violence, sex, and profanity in the movies they watch, was opposed in court by Disney (a company which made its reputation on family-friendly entertainment) and other Hollywood mega-conglomerates. This week, VidAngel lost.
“After sitting in the federal courtroom for the better part of a week, listening to the arguments on both sides of the case, I was absolutely baffled by the jury’s conclusion that VidAngel’s actions were willful violations of the copyright law. I am deeply disappointed that the jury chose to award $62 million in damages to Disney and Warner Brothers, and I fear that this judgment today may sound the death knell for content filtering unless the Congress steps forward to update the Family Movie Act of 2005,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“Prior to VidAngel even launching its disk-based streaming service, the company conducted itself in a manner that demonstrated a pattern of good faith. Multiple witnesses in the case testified about the company’s efforts to comply with each and every word of the Family Movie Act. VidAngel hired one of the most respected attorneys in Hollywood to counsel them through the process to ensure compliance with the Family Movie Act. And that attorney – who spent much of his career helping Hollywood studios to defend their copyright interests, and who had served as counsel for the Academy of Motion Pictures and the Oscars – wrote letters to the major studios before VidAngel had even launched its filtering service to explain exactly what they were doing. These are not the actions of some copyright pirate, as the attorneys for Disney successfully painted them during the trial.
“It is beyond ironic that a company named after Walt Disney would sue to prevent the filtering of graphic sex, violence, profanity and other explicit content from movies. Indeed, it is tragic. Although we are disappointed, today’s ruling only inspires us to redouble our call for Congress to pass legislation that brings the Family Movie Act into the 21st century.”