Hollywood studios sue VidAngel’s attempt to let viewers be ‘in the world but not of it.’
“So much of television is really not fit for children, or Christians, or the elderly,” declared Kenneth the NBC page, a character on the sitcom 30 Rock who pitched executives the idea of a black bar to block objectionable content.
Kenneth’s suggestion—a hit with the wholesome new network president in a 2011 episode—seems like an especially blunt caricature of faith-based filters compared to the real-life options available today.
But one of the most prominent services, VidAngel, had to suspend its streaming offerings last month as it faces a lawsuit from Disney and three other major studios. Yesterday, an appeals court rejected its request to keep streaming cleaned-up content while the suit unfolds.
VidAngel lets viewers watch “however the bleep” they want, with hundreds of customizable filters to skip everything from sexual gestures and fight scenes to four-letter words and lighter offenses like butt. (The censor settings aren’t all “bosoms, blood, and bad words”; the company also lets you cut Jar Jar Binks scenes out of Star Wars.)
Its 100,000 customers are now back to watching movies the typical way: all or nothing. Last month, a preliminary injunction forced VidAngel to take down its 3,000-plus videos—everything from Game of Thrones to Minions—while fighting allegations from Disney, LucasFilm, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers that the service violates copyright and encryption regulations.
VidAngel, founded by Mormon entrepreneur Neal Harmon and endorsed by leaders from evangelical groups such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, follows a legacy of faith-based movie censorship that goes back as far as American cinema itself, according …
Source: Christianity Today Most Read