VidAngel has suffered yet another setback as it continues its fight with major studios over its service that allows families to filter offensive content from Hollywood movies.
Judge Andre Birotte today held the company in contempt of court, finding that it did not move quickly enough to comply with his earlier order to shut down. Birotte granted the studios’ request for an injunction on Dec. 12, finding that the studios are likely to prevail at trial on their claim that VidAngel’s service violates their copyrights, and finding that VidAngel’s continued operation would damage the studios.
But VidAngel continued to operate as normal for another two weeks, only shutting down after a request for a stay of the injunction was denied. The studios — Warner Bros., Disney and 20th Century Fox — sought a finding that VidAngel was in contempt, and noted that the site had in fact added three new releases to its library after the injunction was granted.
VidAngel contended that it should be granted extra time to modify its Apple and Roku apps to remove the studios’ films, rather than shutting down completely, which it argued would cause substantial disruption for its customers. But when that request was rejected, VidAngel shut down and is now appealing the injunction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.
Birotte ordered VidAngel to reimburse the studios for attorneys’ costs in the amount of $10,321.20.
“The studios have been trying to mischaracterize VidAngel and portray it as a bad actor,” said David Quinto, the company’s general counsel. “I think the studios are trying to avoid a merits discussion of the dispute.”
VidAngel recently raised $10 million through a crowdfunding effort, and has vowed to use that financing to pursue the litigation to the Supreme Court.