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Studio-Defying VidAngel Launches New Video-Filtering Platform (yahoo.com) 201

Last December VidAngel fought three Hollywood studios in court for the right to stream filtered versions of movies. Now fogez reports that "they have come up with a new tactic in their attempts to bring filtering choice into the streaming media equation. Instead of leveraging the legal loophole that landed them in court, VidAngel is now going to insert themselves as a filtering proxy for services like Netflix and Amazon." From the Hollywood Reporter: Its new $7.99 per month service piggybacks on users' streaming accounts. Customers log into the VidAngel app, link it to their other accounts and then filter out the language, nudity and violence in that content to their heart's desire... "Out of the gate we'll be supporting Netflix and Amazon and HBO through Amazon channels," says Harmon, adding that Hulu, iTunes and Vudu will follow... Harmon says it remains to be seen if the studios will fight VidAngel's new platform, but his biggest concern is how Amazon and Netflix will respond. He says his company has reached out to the streamers, and he hopes they'll raise any concerns through conversation instead of litigation... "VidAngel's philosophy is very libertarian," he says. "Let directors create what they want, and let viewers watch how they want in their own home. That kind of philosophy respects the views of both parties."
The original submission describes the conflict as a "freedom of choice versus Hollywood."
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Studio-Defying VidAngel Launches New Video-Filtering Platform

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  • Stupid People (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Albert71292 ( 877316 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:02PM (#54639609)

    If people don't want to see or hear things they find offensive, just don't watch those movies or TV shows. Stick with G-Rated fare.

    • Re:Stupid People (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trondheim ( 2012498 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:21PM (#54639657)
      Obviously there's a market for filtering, as VidAngel as other companies that have come before them have done quite well before being sued into oblivion. For example, my kids wanted to watch, "The Martian." I didn't want them hearing the foul language, so we watched it using VidAngel. I was satisfied, and the kids enjoyed it. How does that make me a stupid person?
      • Re: Stupid People (Score:4, Insightful)

        by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:30PM (#54639687)
        Problably the naive idea that they haven't already heard those words from their peers?
        • Re: Stupid People (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:46PM (#54639735) Homepage

          That may be true. That doesn't mean that he has to contribute to the situation if he doesn't want to. This peculiar anti-liberty attitude seems to be inspired by a certain sort of bigotry that isn't applied in an equal fashion.

          If you're not defending people you personally despise, then you don't quite get this freedom thing.

          • Whose freedom are we talking about? The child's, or the author's? The freedoms of a parent end both where the freedom of the child begins and where the freedom of the author begins. Violating both can be illegal, or at least highly unethical.
            • Re: Stupid People (Score:4, Insightful)

              by kqs ( 1038910 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @03:24PM (#54639873)

              Why not all freedoms?

              Authors are allowed to create whatever they want (or at least, whatever they can convince someone to fund.) I'm allowed to watch whatever I want.

              But authors don't have the freedom to force me to watch what THEY want. You seem to be missing that. If I want to watch the author's movie with the dirty bits cut out, that's my freedom and has nothing to do with the author, as long as their original version exists.

              Note that if this legally holds up, then I would expect similar services to pop up which add swearing and nudity to movies. Seems equally valid.

              Note that I think that trying to protect children from language and sex is pointless and IMO more harmful than showing it to them and discussing the context with them. But people have the right to be stupid, and kids mostly turn out okay in the end.

            • Re: Stupid People (Score:4, Insightful)

              by godefroi ( 52421 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @08:59AM (#54646999)

              Ah, Slashdot, never change. I should be able to take apart my hardware and change it up in any way I see fit. I should be able to take apart my software and change it up in any way I see fit. I should be able to do whatever I want with my media, like time shift it, or format shift it, except skipping over the swear words. I shouldn't be able to do that.

        • Swear words are useful (for emphasis and getting attention) when used rarely. They're detrimental to your social standing in many groups when over-used. It's perfectly reasonable to wish to reduce your kids' exposure to them in order to send your kids the message that those are not words to use casually every day. The idea is not to prevent them from knowing what the words are, or to prevent them from screaming a 4 letter word when an anvil falls on their foot.

      • You're putting your kids in a bubble away from the rest of the "normal" world. They'll hear foul language eventually, why not guide them through while you're there? When they go to prom, will you tell them to be abstinent or do you give them a condom?

        • They are providing them with a living example of a nicer world, so when they do join the normal world they will realise that's not all the world can be.

          If you have to hand your kid a condom so he'd use it when necessary you've failed as a parent. Giving advice to remain abstinent and having provided enough knowledge of the world and the independence to put that knowledge into practice (ie. buy a condom) are not mutually exclusive.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "How does that make me a stupid person?"

        You're a stupid person for assigning such power and ability to something like mere fucking words, you goddamned moron.

        You're also a fucking tool for performing copyright infringement, but that's another story altogether.

      • Watch everybody change their opinion...I'll type it in the body, less butthurt.

        Phantom Edit? Is fixing, to the extent it could be, a terrible SW move a public service or an outrage?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just like Blockbuster, who removed the final scene from their copies of Catch 22, thus ruining the movie.

      There is a difference between sex and violence for the storytelling and sex and violence for its own sake.

      The problem is that Hollywood no longer knows the difference, thus creating demand for a product/service like this.

    • Re:Stupid People (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @04:02PM (#54639973)
      I was about to click submit on pretty much the same comment, but then I realized that I had done plenty of on-the-fly censorship when reading to my kids at bedtime. Dr. Doolittle for example is a great book but it has some racist baggage that did not need to be discussed just at that moment.
  • Freedom? Choice? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:10PM (#54639637)

    "Let directors create what they want, and let viewers watch how they want in their own home. That kind of philosophy respects the views of both parties."

    The directors/writers/etc don't put language, nudity and violence just for the fun of annoying special snowflakes like yourself. It's part of the characters, part of the experience, part of the story. If you remove things, it's not worth your time.

    I hate extreme violence, gore and horror movies in general. So I don't watch horror movies. See how easy that was? Now do the same.

    • Nothingburger? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @02:44PM (#54639731) Homepage Journal

      "Let directors create what they want, and let viewers watch how they want in their own home. That kind of philosophy respects the views of both parties."

      The directors/writers/etc don't put language, nudity and violence just for the fun of annoying special snowflakes like yourself. It's part of the characters, part of the experience, part of the story. If you remove things, it's not worth your time.

      I hate extreme violence, gore and horror movies in general. So I don't watch horror movies. See how easy that was? Now do the same.

      You could just as easily go the other way.

      Directors/writers/etc don't subtitle their movies or overdub them. Does that mean I shouldn't watch anime that's been dubbed in English by volunteers?

      Directors/writers/etc don't make fun of their movies either. Does that mean I shouldn't watch MST3K movies?

      This entire issue seems like a total nothing-burger. People are willing to pay money to watch movies in a specific way, that's fine.

      The thing about rights is when you dictate what *other* people can and can't do. Why do we worry about people quietly enjoying modified movies in the privacy of their home?

      • I didn't say they don't have the right to do that, I said it destroyed the experience and so makes the whole thing pointless.

        And while I agree with you on the anime subtitles, I disagree on the dubbed versions. People doing dubbing usually lose something in the voice, intonations, tone of the voice, etc. It's extremely rare to have a voice sound exactly the same, so it changes your perception of the characters. And IMHO that makes it a bad thing. But to each his own.

    • Any other business, people would be all over them for not respecting the wishes of all customers. But Hollywood somehow gets a free pass?

      "The restaurant owner doesn't exclude blacks just for the fun of annoying special snowflakes like yourself. It's part of the character of the restaurant, part of the experience. If you force them to allow blacks, it's no longer a unique experience and not worth your time.

      "I hate restaurants which exclude certain races. So I don't go there. See how easy that was?
    • by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @03:28PM (#54639889)

      "Let directors create what they want, and let viewers watch how they want in their own home. That kind of philosophy respects the views of both parties."

      The directors/writers/etc don't put language, nudity and violence just for the fun of annoying special snowflakes like yourself. It's part of the characters, part of the experience, part of the story. If you remove things, it's not worth your time.

      I hate extreme violence, gore and horror movies in general. So I don't watch horror movies. See how easy that was? Now do the same.

      How do you feel about the modding community for video games?

      How do you feel about people who buy cheap art at thrift stores and modify it with modern character, themes, and ideas?

      How do you feel about people buying cars and then modifying them in various ways?

      It would be a travesty to deface the Mona Lisa... and yet if I buy a copy of the Mona Lisa and put a moustache on it, or remove the background, or just burn the thing, who are you to tell me it's "not worth" my time? Who do you think you are, anyway? Why is your taste so much more important than mine?

      If I want to watch a movie with the nudity cut out, or read a Jane Austen novel with zombies added in, why should I care that you think I have bad taste?

      Let people do what they want with the goods and services they've paid for--including, if they so desire, censoring them--and stop acting like movies are somehow special in this regard. I do it. It's easy! Now you do the same.

    • by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @05:56PM (#54640291)

      The directors/writers/etc don't put language, nudity and violence just for the fun of annoying special snowflakes like yourself. It's part of the characters, part of the experience, part of the story. If you remove things, it's not worth your time.

      Who exactly are you to decide what is or is not worth someone else's time for the purposes of entertainment?

      Why do people like you get so personally offended by the way that somebody else wants to view a movie, to the point that you want to dictate the way they watch it in their own home?

    • by PJ6 ( 1151747 )

      "Let directors create what they want, and let viewers watch how they want in their own home. That kind of philosophy respects the views of both parties."

      The directors/writers/etc don't put language, nudity and violence just for the fun of annoying special snowflakes like yourself. It's part of the characters, part of the experience, part of the story. If you remove things, it's not worth your time.

      I hate extreme violence, gore and horror movies in general. So I don't watch horror movies. See how easy that was? Now do the same.

      Usually the term "snowflake" is used by conservatives, so I'm kind of confused. They love censoring that shit, not just for the people who want it, but for everyone. And you want to dictate how people watch entertainment in their own home. That sure sounds conservative to me.

      I think you need to re-check the party line and get back in it. You're definitely supposed to be for censorship, especially nudity.

      Remember the towering moral outrage over Janet Jackson's boob? It gave conservatives everywhere a ca

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      The directors/writers/etc don't put language, nudity and violence just for the fun of annoying special snowflakes like yourself.

      Somtimes they do. Directors may insert something into the movie just to get a particular rating. This was most egregious back in the '80s, when a PG rating meant lower movie sales than "R". So they often inserted foul language just to get the coveted "R" rating. That is part of why PG-13 was added.

  • We use ad blockers on the internet. Isn't this the same thing?

    • In some jurisdictions, not when a third party does it.
    • Blocking the ad is not the same thing as altering the ad; people who create things have a right to expect that somebody else can't alter it and tell people they're seeing what you intended.

      • People pay to have ads aired, so they have a reasonable expectation that those ads are shown as is (or not shown at all, in which case they shouldn't be charged either). In the case of entertainment, it's the viewer who both pays for the content and decides what filters to apply.
    • Not quite. Using adblockers in your browser is like skipping the part where Bambi's mom dies by pushing fast forward on the remote.

      If you want a comparable scenario, you'd have to pay some service to act as your proxy to do the filtering for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let directors create what they want, and let viewers watch how they want in their own home.

    That's a stupid idea and just feeds into the notion that people can suspend themselves from reality and filter out anything and everything they find offensive.

    And that whole quote about being libertarian is just baloney. How about, instead of paying for and/or viewing the creator's content that you don't approve of, just don't buy or view that content. Pay for content that you do like instead. Voting with your wallet would cause market pressures to squeeze out the content that caters to your distortions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Trondheim ( 2012498 )
      Isn't the very act of watching a movie suspending yourself from reality?
    • But people CAN filter reality, and we're getting better at it. It might not be healthy in some ways, but to call it a fiction is incorrect. If some techie pulls off the eyeball augmentations that sci-fi has posited for years, it'll be totally viable to filter an offensive person entirely, but we continue to edge in that direction.
  • It's a tricky thing, art. While art is and always has been a commercial enterprise to some degree, it's also intended as a communication medium. In effect, altering the artistic work also distorts the message of the artist(s).

    I'm not 100% against this on principle, but I find it a dangerous road. It's very similar to editing an interview to destroy the relationship between question and answer. Do I think that some borderline films could benefit from a "kids" edit? Sure. Do I think it should happen without t

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Do I think that some borderline films could benefit from a "kids" edit? Sure. Do I think it should happen without the input of the originators of a work? No.

      Then what's the appropriate market-based way to ensure that all "originators of a work" offer "input" on their "borderline films" to producers of edited versions?

    • It's a tricky thing, art. While art is and always has been a commercial enterprise to some degree, it's also intended as a communication medium. In effect, altering the artistic work also distorts the message of the artist(s).

      I don't think this is a problem in this context. End users *know* they are not watching the 'artist intended' version of the film, and the fact that they are watching a sanitized, incomplete version does not preclude them from later viewing the unaltered version, or prevent anyone else from doing so. If I purchased a painting and cut off half of it to then hang the first half in a frame, am I distorting the message of the artist? Yes. Is that my right? Well, I paid for the painting. The painting analogy fal

      • Good points. I would submit, however, that Windows 10 is a tool (read that how you wish), whereas a movie is an art piece. It's a complicated question. With Windows 10, you purchase an OS to run other programs. The movie doesn't run other items. Arguably from a moral standpoint (not sure about legal), you have every right to re-edit a movie for your own consumption. The question is, do you have the right to repackage someone else's work for mass-consumption? Legally, probably not. Morally, not unless it's a
    • Do I think that some borderline films could benefit from a "kids" edit? Sure. Do I think it should happen without the input of the originators of a work? No.

      Wow. So content creators should decide what you watch, and not you. That has got to be the most insane thing I've ever heard. I suppose if you have never pressed FFW or REW for any reason whatsoever, then you're not a hypocrite. We get it, you disagree with the reason VidAngel's customers are fast forwarding, rewinding and muting, but to say that their reason is wrong? Wow.

      • No... You should absolutely decide what content you consume. Nor did I call it "wrong". I'm trying to determine if you misread my intention, or if you're just trolling. What I'm saying is, the original piece is designed to convey a message. A third party should not have the right to alter that piece for consumers without the involvement of the original artist or owner of the work. You have EVERY right to skip what you wish. Note, I'm not saying third party commentary is in any way wrong (it can actually be

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I will finally be able to watch the nonviolent, nonprofane Reservoir Dogs Kumbaya cut, all 58 seconds of it?

  • The movies go by real fast.

  • I want to be able to watch television with all the bad dialogue, stupid plots and idiotic characters filtered out.

  • People move away from TV because networks butcher and cut movies so they can show them before watershed, turn to Netflix and Amazon to finally see them fully and then hire a company that does the same butchering that the TV networks did?

    If stupidity would squeak, some people would have to sleep in an oil can.

  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Saturday June 17, 2017 @10:28PM (#54641049)
    (Disclaimer: I sometimes watch R rated movies, I don't filter them. I "filter" some movies for my kids by totally disallowing them from watching them, not by use of VidAngel.)

    It is fascinating to see people commenting here who any other day of the week would be pirating movies off torrents, and today are full of righteous indignation when people watch films WHICH THEY HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO WATCH, and apply a viewing filter to it.

    Also fascinating that this is supposedly a tech blog, and here we have people "hacking" movies and TV to suit themselves, and suddenly it's like "Oh noes!!! The evil TV content hackerz are doing bad things by buying something and then modifying it to suit their own tastes!!! If they don't use it exactly like I use it, then they are bad people!!!" (Am I wrong here? Nope, I'm not wrong.)

    Seriously, step outside your own shoes, take a look at yourselves -- and laugh. (I'm certainly laughing at you.) Then maybe consider chilling and adopting a more libertarian view here instead of this Puritanism that wants to force a particular worldview on other people -- in this case, forcing people to consume media with strong language/violence/nudity.
  • These losers have been imposing their will through advertisers and whatnot for decades. One of the huge benefits of using Netflix is that they don't appear to give a flying F to these "Moral Majority" freaks.

    When are we going to finally start taxing religions and make these people dry up and blow away?

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