The lawsuit is not about money. VidAngel tried 4 different ways to edit the content of movies. Studios could have picked any one of them that would have given them greater revenue than the current method VidAngel is using.
The studios signed secret contracts with the Directors Guild and distributors to create a force field against filtering. The contracts said no one could filter or partner with filtering companies, basically blocking filtering from the whole streaming market. We only know all this 'cause Sony got hacked by North Korea and their contracts became public.
And this is where VidAngel comes in. 'Cause that force field blocked us 4 times.
1) We teamed up with Google to filter their licensed Google Play movies, but Hollywood told Google no.
2) Later, when we tried to license directly, the studios said no again even though we had the money.
3) We tried to buy discs directly, and they said no.
4) We made a product that let you filter movies you already bought on YouTube. They got it shut down.
("Is VidAngel Legal?", YouTube 29 Nov 2016, 0:50)
The list more briefly:
1) Google Play
2) Direct License
3) Buying Discs
4) YouTube add-on
VidAngel legally decrypts DVDs.
It's also weird that VidAngel decrypts discs, but if you've ever used a DVD player, then so have you, and you're probably legal. So let's look closer. First, the discs. A law called the DMCA forbids unauthorized decryption of discs.
Here's why VisAngel's OK. The DMCA doesn't apply here. Congress wanted the Family Movie Act to protect filtering companies from unfair Hollywood lawsuits. So they made clear that filtering companies who meet those three requirements would be immune to Copyright Act lawsuits and since the DMCA is part of the Copyright Act, it shouldn't apply here.
But even if it did, decryption is necessary to fulfill the Family Movie Act. Without decryption, Hollywood's force field makes it impossible to filter at all. So either VidAngel can legally decrypt discs, or Congress passed a law that didn't change the law.A summary of the arguments from VidAngel that they are legally decrypting DVDs:
("Is VidAngel Legal?", YouTube 29 Nov 2016, 3:01)
1) The DMCA doesn't apply hereSeparate from what VidAngel is claiming. Studios may not have a right to separate agreements to streaming rights. I would be sympathetic to the studios arguments if they had not refused all 4 other attempts to filter their movies.
2) We didn't break it anyway
3) Even if we had, Fair use makes that legal!
("Is VidAngel Legal?", YouTube 29 Nov 2016, 3:56)
To me the key issue here has nothing to do with filtering. The key issue is that it should absolutely not be legal for movie studios to sell separate licenses to stream vs. DVD. This is a stupid way to prevent free entry into the modern version of the movie rental business. As soon as a movie goes on sale in any format, it should be legal for anyone who wants to buy that movie and then rent the viewing of that movie via digital streaming. There is no good reason from a consumer rights standpoint to allow the movie studios to have any more control of streaming than they did of rentals. (Denmark Jensen, Comment on "VidAngel Keeps Streaming, Defying Judge’s Order and Enraging Studios")The effort to stop filtering companies is not new. The Family Movie Act listed what was necessary to legally filter movie content.
Prior to the Family Movie Act, there had been 12 filtering companies and Hollywood sued Every. Single. One. Of. Them. The studios can say til they’re blue in the face that it “isn’t about whether filtering is lawful”, of course it isn’t about that – The Family Movie Act says filtering is legal, as long as the three requirements are met:
1. The movie is an authorized copy
2. The movie is watched in the privacy of the home
3. No permanent copy of the filtered movie is made
("Hollywood v. VidAngel", Matthew Woods, 21 Dec 2016)-
VidAngel AntiTrust Counter Suit, 14 Jul 2016
Neal Harmon, CEO of VidAngel is interviewed by Tom Woods (23 Dec 2016).
"Ep. 810 VidAngel Filters Movies for Families — So They’re Being Sued"
What you can doContact your Congressional representatives, http://savefiltering.vidangel.com/. My tweet and FB post,
Defend modern remote controls @SenJohnMcCain @JeffFlake @RepTrentFranks http://savefiltering.vidangel.com #savefiltering/