Most families govern the entertainment their children consume. For some, the lowering of standards and the coarsening of our culture make this both more difficult and more needed, even as technology affords more avenues for Hollywood content to enter the home.
Yet technology can also help those parents, through editing and filtering services. That is, until Hollywood steps in to battle those efforts. Under the guise of high-minded principles like censorship, creative freedom, and artistic integrity, studios keep fighting the technologies that give parents control over what their children consume. And this charge is being led by the studio built upon family entertainment: Disney Studios.
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The Utah-based company Vid Angel recently announced its new service for in-home filtering. Its product is designed to give families direct control over the content of movies and shows that play from their streaming services. Through a series of radio buttons and drop-down menus, customers receive a fully customizable parental block tool. Depending on their personal judgement, parents can limit the violence, sexual content, and coarse language their children would otherwise see in an unfiltered movie or show.
Any entertainment selections from a user’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO streaming account can be filtered, with the exception of content from four studios: Disney, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, and LucasFilm. These entities joined to battle Vid Angel in court over its earlier DVD iteration. In that business model, customers could rent filtered versions of Hollywood films. The studios, led by a team of lawyers from Disney, argued against this practice, and the court handed down an injunction barring...
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