A member of the House of Representatives introduced a bill Thursday that would protect filtering/streaming services like VidAngel in federal law.
A federal judge in 2016 ruled that VidAngel– a service popular among traditional and Christian families – could not filter movies from Disney, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm. An appeals court subsequently upheld that ruling.
VidAngel then launched a streaming service in 2017 that filters content not made by those studios, including much of the popular content on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Under the bill, H.R.6816, the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 would be amended to make clear it protects streaming services, too, and not just DVD players. It was sponsored by Rep. Mia Love, a Republican, and has four co-sponsors. The new bill is called The Family Movie Act Clarification Act of 2018.
VidAngel’s technology allows families to filter out edgy content from movies such as coarse language, nudity, and excess violence. Another company, ClearPlay, offers its own filtering service. Both companies would be protected.
The Protect Family Rights Coalition (PFRC) applauded the bill.
“The 2005 Family Movie Act was a long and extremely hard-fought battle in which we were outspent and outmanned, and yet despite major pressure from Hollywood, were able to convince both parties in Congress to do the right thing for parents and their children. Today is no different,” said Bill Aho, former CEO of ClearPlay and Executive Director of the Protect Family Rights Coalition. “… We call on the House Judiciary Committee, the Administration, and representatives in both parties and both chambers to immediately get behind this bill and see that it arrives on the President’s desk. We are united in our resolve to see this through.”
More than 30 pro-family leaders signed a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan supporting the bill. Among them: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, James Dobson of Family Talk, Bishop Harry Jackson of ICC Churches, and Ted Baehr of Movieguide.
“To preserve the right of parents to shield their children from harmful content, Congress needs to update the [Family Movie Act] to explicitly include streaming,” the letter says. “The proposed update defends the rights of families to filter when using authorized streaming services, like Netflix and Amazon, and without sacrificing studio revenue or violating the Copyright Act.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Freestocks.org
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.