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HOLLYWOOD, Calif., December 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Four major studios have secured a temporary court order shutting down VidAngel, the year-old Utah-based movie streaming service that allowed parents to rent new movies for $1 and filter out unwanted content such as blasphemy, nudity, racism, and violence.

On Monday, Federal District Court Judge Andre Birotte Jr. accepted the arguments from Twentieth Century Fox, Warner, Disney, and LucasFilm that VidAngel must immediately cease renting or selling movies — via streaming — to subscribers without the producers’ permission. The injunction is temporary, lasting until the dispute over breach of copyright comes to trial at an unknown future date.

VidAngel founder Neal Harmon issued a statement promising to appeal. “We are seeking a stay of this injunction, but if our efforts fail, we will need to take down the movies of all major studios.” But Harmon promises to fight on. “Unlike previous filtering companies, we have the funds to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court. We’re committed to protecting your right to watch filtered movies in your home.”

Harmon has the money to fight because his service is so popular that 40,000 subscribers have pledged $10 million to fund the legal battle. And VidAngel is countersuing the studios, claiming they have violated the Sherman (antitrust) Act by attempting to coerce Google into rejecting a collaboration with VidAngel.

VidAngel contends that it is exempted from copyright protection laws by the Family Movie Act of 2005. This was designed to protect an earlier version of family-friendly filtering requiring home-installed hardware that vets 14 different categories of objectionable content as the film is being viewed by its home audience.

Another Utah company, ClearPlay, was already selling this hardware but was sued by Robert Redford, Steven Soderbergh, 13 more big Hollywood directors, and eight major studios for piracy. The Family Movie Act protected ClearPlay, but evidently Judge Birotte doesn’t think it will cover VidAngel.

VidAngel does not rely on editing done in the home by its hardware. The company’s editors do their work at the Utah HQ, charging $20 for each customized product — a streamed movie edited to suit the censorship choices of each customer. It then buys the movie back for $19 the next day (or for $18 two days later) with the credit going toward future purchases.

VidAngel claims it buys a DVD for each sale, thus paying its dues to the film industry. “We are not pirates,” VidAngel declares in one of a series of cheeky videos defending its operation. ”But Disney made Pirates 2 to 4, so who are the real criminals here?”

The studios say VidAngel is decrypting their videos in order to edit them and is undermining their deals with other streaming services such as iTunes and Netflix, which are paying the moviemakers directly for the rights. But VidAngel’s Harmon says Hollywood won’t sell his company the rights because it doesn’t want its products edited.

The Hollywood studios insist they “are not challenging the Family Movie Act; rather, they are challenging VidAngel’s unlicensed streaming service. As stated in the complaint: ‘Nothing in the FMA gives VidAngel the right to copy or publicly perform’ Plaintiffs’ copyrighted movies and television shows without authorization.”

Nearly two dozen social conservative organizations have endorsed VidAngel. Dr. Jim Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, filed a statement with the court that said in part, “By empowering our families to filter language, sex, profanity, blasphemy, and other content they object to, VidAngel and other filtering services open up a whole new world of possibility. A world in which we can share important movies and programs that teach valuable lessons but in a way that is safe for our kids.”

Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, took aim at the artistic pretensions of the studios and directors. He noted that Hollywood was quite prepared to edit out the Christian content of the beloved children’s animated series VeggieTales and to edit profanity-blocking bleeps into the reality television program Duck Dynasty, about a Christian family of outdoorsmen, “even when no actual profanity was in fact being used. The network wanted to create the false impression in order to bring more ‘edginess’ to the show, despite the fact that the show was so popular precisely because it was squeaky clean.”