Streaming service VidAngel declares bankruptcy after losing legal battles with studios

VidAngel, a streaming service that altered copyrighted works to edit out adult language, nudity and violence, has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company announced on Wednesday. The Utah-based service had been sued by major studios, including Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Disney, and others, who said VidAngel was operating as an unlicensed streaming service, and was offering films to viewers outside the studios’ streaming windows.

The streaming service’s business model involved selling decrypted and edited DVDs for $20 to users who watched them online, then “sold” them back to VidAngel for $19. Effectively, VidAngel was offering $1 rentals to its customers.But this model bumped up against the law in several ways. For one, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) says you can’t remove or circumvent the access-control protections on DVDs and Blu-rays, which VidAngel did. (It claimed the Family Home Movie Act of 2005, ...