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Intellectual property litigation asks how far protections go

New York parents often enjoy watching movies at home with their children, but it can be upsetting when an inappropriate scene pops up on the screen. Parents may scramble for the remote to mute the language or fast forward past the violence or sexual content, but they are rarely fast enough to avoid the offensive material. Many families were glad to discover services that would remove the language, violence and disturbing images from the most popular films, but now, the filtering company is involved in intellectual property litigation.

VidAngel, Inc., reviews and sanitizes popular movies and TV shows before streaming them to subscribers for a fee. While parents may love the service, numerous major film companies, including Disney and Twentieth Century Fox, have taken issue with the editing VidAngel does. They say copyright law permits them to refuse to allow anyone to alter their work and re-present it to the public for profit without permission.

The owners of VidAngel claim the film companies have violated antitrust laws by banning together against those who offer filtering of offensive content. None of the studios will agree to VidAngel’s requests for permission to filter their movies. This monopoly makes it impossible for VidAngel to offer its service, which violates their right to free trade. The film companies, however, contend that what VidAngel does is no different from any illegal streaming of copyrighted works.

While this issue continues to be debated in and out of the courts, New York movie lovers may watch its progress with interest. It is an example of the complexities of copyright law and the many nuances often involved in intellectual property litigation. Because of this, those who face their own copyright battles rely on the skill and experience of a copyright attorney.