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Filtering Films: What Consumers Would Cut if Only They Could

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Maggiano’s Little Italy

189 The Grove Drive

Los Angeles, California 90036

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Professor Doug Lichtman, UCLA School of Law

In 2016, the technology startup VidAngel offered a movie streaming service that empowered users to mute potentially offensive audio and cut potentially offensive video from Hollywood films. Copyright litigation forced VidAngel's service offline in December of that year. But, in the preceding eleven-and-a-half months, VidAngel managed to transmit roughly four million filtered streams and, for each of them, to record not only which filters were applied, but also how many minutes of the resulting film each user then watched. In this talk, Professor Lichtman will use the VidAngel data to examine the market for filtered motion picture content. Are filters used primarily to filter intimacy or violence? Are users more likely filter the word "f*ck" or the word "Christ"? And how do filters impact a viewer's overall experience, for example as measured by how much of the movie they in the end choose to watch?

Doug Lichtman is a tenured professor of law at UCLA. He joined the faculty in 2007, having previously spent ten years teaching and writing at the University of Chicago. His areas of specialty are patent law and copyright law. Lichtman's academic work has been featured in journals including the Journal of Law & Economics, the Yale Law Journal, and the Harvard Business Review. He also writes for mainstream publications like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. In addition to his academic pursuits, Mr. Lichtman maintains an active consulting practice, advising Fortune 100 clients and major institutional investors on patent, copyright and antitrust strategy. He also manages a private litigation finance fund. Professor Lichtman has undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University, and a JD from Yale Law School. He can be reached via email at lichtman@law.ucla.edu.

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Maggiano’s Little Italy

189 The Grove Drive

Los Angeles, California 90036

View Map

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