Earlier this month, VidAngel and a handful of studios agreed to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit for $9 million.
Disney, Warner Bros., and many other studios recently agreed to settle a copyright infringement lawsuit against VidAngel for $9.9 million, a far cry from the $62.4 million to suit originally sought. VidAngel, a streaming company based in Provo, made the settlement announcement last week. It also noted the settlement will allow it to “fully emerge from bankruptcy.”
The company filed for bankruptcy back in 2017 and in March of this year, amid the $62.4 million judgment in the case, it filed a reorganization plan. The recent settlement was “finalized in Utah’s bankruptcy court and approved by Judge Kevin R. Anderson,” according to the announcement.
What led to the original copyright lawsuit, though? For starters, back in 2016, Warner Bros., Disney, and a handful of other studios sued VidAngel for copyright infringement and claimed the streaming company had “unlawfully reproduced copyrighted content to offer filtered versions to users.” In 2019, a judge sided with the studios and ruled VidAngel was “liable for copyright infringement, and it was later ruled that VidAngel must pay more than $60 million to the studios in damages.”
As part of the settlement, VidAngel will be able to stretch the payout out over a 14-year period. Additionally, it will “drop its 9th Circuit legal appeal and will not decrypt, copy, stream or distribute any content from Disney, Warner Brothers, or affiliates without studio permission.” The studios’ part of the compromise was their agreement to discount the original $62.4 million judgment.
When commenting on the settlement, VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon said:
“After a long and extremely difficult legal battle in one of the biggest copyright cases in decades, we have finally come to an agreement in which VidAngel can emerge from bankruptcy and move forward as a rapidly growing company…both VidAngel and the studios were faced with painfully difficult concessions in negotiations to reach the settlement.”
Harmon also noted how great the company’s supporters have been throughout the four-year-long battle and thanked them, saying they “have stood with us through thick and thin over the last four years of a battle that all-too-often looked lost and hopeless.”
Now that the case is closed and the settlement was finalized, Harmon is excited to shift his focus to bringing “original content like ‘The Chosen’ and ‘Dry Bar Comedy’ to his customers.” Additionally, the company will continue to offer “filtered content through popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that allow you to skip or mute things you don’t want to see or hear in movies and TV shows, namely nudity, and profanity,” according to Harmon.