The Walt Disney Studios in conjunction with 21st Century Fox and Warner Brothers have won a preliminary court injunction against Utah-based company VidAngel, claiming that the service violates the studios' copyrights. As Bloomberg reports, VidAngel allows users to digitally rent edited versions (minus profanity, nudity, violence, etc.) of Hollywood films for $1 a day, however they're alleged business model is far more complicated than it seems. The company states that they buy a DVD copy of each film available, rip it to create a digital file for editing, sell that digital copy to a customer, who then turns around and sells it back to them. This, they argue, does not put them in violation of copyright laws.
The studios argue that their objection is to VidAngel running an unlicensed video on demand service, which also gives them an unfair advantage. As the studios said, “VidAngel flaunts its interference with exclusive windows as a competitive advantage over authorized services by expressly promoting titles that are available on VidAngel but ‘NOT on Netflix.' VidAngel’s unrestrained conduct thus threatens the legitimate online distribution market."
In a statement, VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon said, “Hollywood studios have followed a repeated pattern in their decades-long campaign to put movie filtering services out of business by seeking a shut-down decision in trial court. We will aggressively pursue an appeal and take this case to a higher level where we have always believed we will ultimately prevail.”