VidAngel, the Utah-based streaming outfit that shut down in 2016 after a judge ruled against its methods of altering and distributing content from Disney and Warner Bros, has found new life.
The company said today it has emerged from bankruptcy after whittling down a $62.4 million judgment to a $9.9 million payout to the studios that will be stretched out over 14 years. Utah Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin R. Anderson approved the settlement.
VidAngel grew by using DVDs to edit out profanity, nudity and violence from movies and TV series on Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO and then streaming them to its customers. The company has continued to operate a filtering service based on Netflix and Amazon content, saying it is “empowering families” to leave out “unwanted” and “undesired” elements. The company has also started to produce some of its own original programming.
U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte ordered the service to shut down in 2016, ruling that it was illegal but allowing a jury to set the amount of damages.
Last year, VidAngel brought an appeal of Birotte’s judgment. Under terms of the settlement, that appeal was dropped. The company also has agreed not to “decrypt, copy, stream or distribute” content belonging to Disney, Warner Brothers or their affiliated entities.
The settlement “resolves long-lasting disputes between previously intractable parties,” Anderson wrote in his order endorsing the deal. “It allows the debtor to focus on growing its (already successful) business rather than continuing expensive litigation. It gives the studios … relief for which they have specifically have bargained and a cessation of ongoing litigation.”
In a statement, VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon said the settlement caps a difficult chapter for the company.
“As with any compromise, we had to make painfully difficult concessions to arrive at this agreement, as did Disney and Warner Brothers,” he said. “We want to thank the team at Disney and Warner Brothers for negotiating this settlement in good faith. We also want to thank our fans and supporters, millions of people who have stood with us through thick and thin over the last four years of a battle that all too often looked lost and hopeless.”
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