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Disney Enters. v. VidAngel, Inc.

United States District Court for the Central District of California

December 12, 2016, Decided; December 12, 2016, Filed

Case No. 2:16-cv-04109 - AB (PLAx)



Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Disney Enterprises, Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. ("Plaintiffs") Motion for Preliminary Injunction. ("Mot." Dkt. No. 26-1.) Plaintiffs seek to enjoin Defendant VidAngel Inc. ("VidAngel") from violating Plaintiffs' rights pursuant to § 1201(a) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), 17 U.S.C. § 1201(a), by circumventing technological measures that effectively control access to Plaintiffs' copyrighted works on DVDs and Blu-ray discs; [**2]  and infringing by any means, directly or indirectly, Plaintiffs' exclusive rights under § 106 of the Copyright Act, id. § 106, including by reproducing or publicly performing Plaintiffs' copyrighted works.

 [***1215]  Plaintiffs bring this motion on the grounds that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and that they will suffer irreparable harm, absent an injunction. Plaintiffs contend that the balance of equities tips decidedly in their favor, and an injunction is in the public interest. Furthermore, Plaintiffs contend that VidAngel's defenses to violating Plaintiff's rights are meritless and thus Plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction against Defendants. VidAngel filed an opposition and the Plaintiffs filed their reply. The Court heard oral arguments from the parties on November 14, 2016 and took the matter under submission. Upon consideration  [*964]  of the parties' arguments, papers and the case file, the court hereby GRANTS the motion for preliminary injunction.


a. Factual and Procedural Background

i. Plaintiffs and Their Copyrighted Works

Plaintiffs are in the business of producing and distributing motion pictures and television programs. ("Compl." Dkt. No 1 ¶ [**3]  19.) Plaintiffs invest considerable effort and resources each year to develop, produce, distribute and publicly perform their Copyrighted Works. (Id. at ¶ 25.) Plaintiffs own and have the exclusive U.S. rights to reproduce and publicly perform their Copyrighted Works, including by means of streaming those works over the internet to the public. (Id. at ¶ 25.) Plaintiffs distribute and license their content for home entertainment across a number of channels. (Id. at ¶ 27.) These include, among others: (1) physical Discs; (2) digital download through services like iTunes, VUDU or Amazon Video; (3) on-demand streaming for short-term viewing on a per transaction fee (e.g., iTunes Store or Google Play Store); or (4) subscription on-demand streaming (e.g., Netflix or Hulu). (Cittadine Decl. ¶ 9.)

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224 F. Supp. 3d 957 *; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183152 **; 121 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1212 ***; 45 Media L. Rep. 1106


Subsequent History: Related proceeding at VidAngel LLC v. Clearplay Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49877 (D. Utah, Mar. 31, 2017)

Affirmed by Disney Enters. v. VidAngel, Inc., 869 F.3d 848, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16188 (9th Cir. Cal., Aug. 24, 2017)

Related proceeding at Disney Enters. v. VidAngel, Inc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35599 (D. Utah, Mar. 5, 2019)

Prior History: Disney Enters. v. VidAngel Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110261 (C.D. Cal., Aug. 18, 2016)


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Civil Procedure, Remedies, Injunctions, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Evidence, Procedural Matters, Preliminary Questions, Admissibility of Evidence, Credibility & Weight of Evidence, Copyright Law, Copyright Infringement Actions, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Prohibited Conduct, Scope of Copyright Protection, Judicial Notice, Adjudicative Facts, Public Records, Civil Infringement Actions, Elements, Copying by Defendants, Ownership, Presumptions, Validity of Copyright, Scope of Copyright Protection, Ownership Rights, Reproductions, Reproductions, Infringement, Business & Corporate Compliance, Performances, Definition of Performance, Limitations, Fair Use, Fair Use Determination, Factors, Burdens of Proof, Copyright Law, Civil Infringement Actions