Brian Mark Weber / June 21, 2019

VidAngel Owes Hollywood Demons Big Time

The company has been ordered to pay $62 million for “pirating” movies.

Chalk up another victory for Hollywood and a painful defeat for parents and their children. Earlier this week, a federal jury in California awarded major Hollywood studios a $62 million settlement against VidAngel for illegally ripping and streaming DVD content without a license.

That’s bad news for those seeking wholesome entertainment in a world where technology makes it easier than ever for purveyors of filth to bypass parents and directly target young, impressionable minds. VidAngel had enjoyed increasing support in recent years for allowing individuals to purchase movies on its website and filter out profanity, sex, violence, or other objectionable material.

“The verdict is a devastating blow to VidAngel, which gained support from many families and religious leaders who say there’s too much sex, violence, and foul language in feature films,” writes Ryan Faughnder at the Los Angeles Times. He adds, “VidAngel executives argued the firm was protected from piracy accusations by a 2005 law called the Family Movie Act, which says consumers can tweak movies for personal viewing. The studios countered that VidAngel used its filtering mission as a clever way to circumvent the law.”

Ironically, some of the same leftists now crusading to “protect” innocent Americans from “dangerous” conservative and religious viewpoints on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are peddling the garbage produced by Hollywood these days — and making sure you and yours see every awful second of it. But if the studios don’t have a problem when their movies are carefully edited for viewing on national television, why is VidAngel’s service any different?

Sadly, even companies such as Disney seem incapable of producing clean, family-friendly movies these days, and it’s harder than ever to escape Hollywood’s influence not only on our children but on our society as a whole. After all, is it really necessary to have profanity, violence, and suggestive sexual material in a movie marketed for kids?

As Rebekah Curtis writes at The Federalist, “The truth is that contemporary TV and movies are expensively produced propaganda for a panoply of bad ideas, with the allegedly artistic symbols and signposts in all the wrong places. It’s physical laziness that makes us want them, and intellectual and moral laziness that makes us tolerate them.”

That may be true for some, but not for all. And those of us who aren’t morally lazy should have the ability to make choices appropriate for ourselves and our families. At one time, there were actually standards of decency that kept the nation’s airwaves and movie screens clean. Now, it seems there are no limits, and whenever anyone tries to stand athwart the entertainment industry, they get steamrolled.

“With a few notable exceptions,” Joshua Gibbs writes at the Circe Institute, “I would be perfectly content for America to return to the old Hays Code standard for motion pictures: no graphic sex, no graphic violence, no pointed profanity, and no ridicule of the clergy. The merciless demand for realism which has arisen since the abandonment of the Hays Code in 1968 has polluted American art beyond measure. Gone is subtlety, gone is nuance, gone is dignity. Americans will underwrite any onscreen degradation provided it ‘actually happens in the real world,’ which is dangerous, because out in the real world, we manufacture new degradations at a breakneck speed.”

There are millions of us who’d much prefer to avoid Hollywood’s most objectionable material while at the same time allowing others to create, market, and sell their brand of entertainment. But unlike the Hays Code, which went too far in some cases, we aren’t censoring the movie moguls or seeking to silence their views as today’s most popular social-media platforms have done to conservatives. Instead, as we wrote two years ago, parents “simply want to protect their own children from content that’s increasingly at odds with their values.”

What former Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said in 2017 bears repeating: “Families should have the choice to screen out profanity, violence, and other objectionable content from movies and television shows if they want to. At the same time, it’s essential that we protect content creators’ intellectual property rights.”

VidAngel’s service struck this important balance. This California jury verdict, however, leaves decent individuals and families scrambling to find ways to protect themselves from the influence of an increasingly degenerate popular culture peddled by ruthless entertainment companies more determined than ever to choose what images come into our homes.

VidAngel has vowed to keep fighting, but their options seem increasingly limited. As do consumers’.

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