Aereo Rival Challenges Judge’s Threat to Hold It in Contempt of Court

FilmOn X, the rival to broadcast streaming service Aereo, is pushing back against a judge’s suggestion that she may hold them in contempt for streaming broadcast signals in the Boston market.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer on Sept. 5 ruled that FilmOn X had to stop offering subscribers broadcast streams in the Washington D.C. market, and she extended her injunction to almost every other market in the country. The exception was the New York area and the 2nd Circuit, where rulings have so far favored Aereo and have allowed it to continue offering a similar service.

So when Aereo won a ruling in the Boston area on Oct. 8, FilmOn X sought a modification of Collyer’s injunction to allow it to operate in that market, located within the 1st Circuit. In fact, later that week FilmOn X founder Alki David said in an email they were “live again with the Networks.”

Collyer not only turned down FilmOn X’s request, but she was irked that they started transmissions of broadcast programming in Boston, despite the decision there that is allowing Aereo’s similar service to continue. In a ruling on Oct. 15, she ordered FilmOn X to show why it should not be held in contempt.

In a new filing, FilmOn X says that its broadcast streams were “inadvertently accessible” during a testing process, and that it discontinued those tests “upon learning that a limited number of users in the First Circuit may have been able to access some of [broadcasters’] copyrighted programming.”

“It deactivated that testing well before this Court’s October 15 ruling and before Plaintiffs raised any objection,” FilmOn X’s attorneys said in its filing.

FilmOn X also said that it would “not be fair” to hold them in civil or criminal contempt because Collyer’s Sept. 5 order “is itself unclear and ambiguous.” Her order prevents them from “streaming, transmitting retransmitting or otherwise publicly performing” the copyrighted broadcasts, but FilmOn X says that the term “publicly performing” is left undefined. “Importantly, the order itself does not expressly contemplate the effect of subsequent court decisions on the undefined term ‘publicly performing’ in particular jurisdictions,” FilmOn X said in its filing. It is represented by Ryan Baker and Kerry Davidson of Baker Marquart.

Broadcasters have petitioned to the Supreme Court to review the Aereo decision.

More Biz

  • United States President Barack Obama (L)

    Barack Obama on Kobe Bryant's Death: 'Nothing Is More Heartbreaking'

    President Barack Obama spoke about the heartbreaking deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the seven other victims of the shocking helicopter crash last month. “That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with — particularly, Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And those [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    How to Get Tickets to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial Service

    The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that fans that wish to attend the public memorial of Kobe and Gianna Bryant can register for tickets online beginning Friday. The memorial will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine killed in a helicopter [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    R. Kelly Hit With New Charges Alleging Sexual Abuse Against a Minor

    R. Kelly has been hit with new federal charges in Chicago, alleging that he sexually abused a minor female for four years, beginning in 1997, according to the Chicago Tribune. The superseding indictment, which was made public Friday, alleged Kelly sexually abused a girl who was identified as “Minor 6.” Kelly is already in prison [...]

  • ViacomCBS

    Third Point Adds Stakes in ViacomCBS and Amazon

    Investor Dan Loeb has added small stakes in ViacomCBS and Amazon to the portfolio of his Third Point LLC investment firm during the final months of 2019. Third Point disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday its ownership of shares in the newly merged Redstone empire and the high-flying e-commerce behemoth. Loeb [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Denies Accusation That It Is Downplaying Damage in 2008 Archive Fire

    The day after Universal Music Group revealed that it is planning an IPO within three years, an attorney for four artists who have claimed to have lost recordings in a 2008 fire that destroyed thousands of assets in the company’s archives has accused UMG of “gamesmanship” and downplaying and refusing to reveal the extent of [...]

  • Eric Braeden celebrates his 40th Anniversary

    TV Iron Man Eric Braeden Marks 40 Years on 'Young and the Restless'

    If not for a tennis game with actor Dabney Coleman in the late 1970s, Eric Braeden might never have landed his signature role as conniving business mogul Victor Newman on CBS’ “The Young and the Restless.” Braeden, 78, has become an Iron Man of daytime soaps who will mark his 40th anniversary on “Y&R” with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content