×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadcasters Win Preliminary Injunction Against Internet-Video Streamer FilmOn X

The U.S. District Court for D.C. Circuit issued a preliminary injunction Thursday against FilmOn X, barring the company from redistributing TV broadcasters’ signals over the Internet.

“This Court concludes that the Copyright Act forbids FilmOn X from retransmitting Plaintiffs’ copyrighted programs over the Internet,” U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in the decision granting TV broadcasters’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

The decision — which applies nationwide — has implications for Aereo, a similar Internet streaming service sued by broadcasters. New York-based Aereo, whose backers include IAC chairman Barry Diller, has won legal victories against broadcasters in New York federal courts, including a decision in July by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denying the request by TV networks to shut down the service.

Plaintiffs in the FilmOn case include the four major national broadcast television networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — as well as other distributors, rights holders and D.C.-area television stations.

In a statement, Fox said, “We are pleased, but not surprised, that that the court recognized that the commercial retransmission of our broadcast signal without permission or compensation is a clear violation of the law.  This decision should finally put the matter to rest, and will hopefully discourage other illegal services from attempting to steal our content.”

Alki David, CEO of FilmOn, said in an email to Variety that he planned to appeal the decision.

“The judge is clearly in (the broadcasters’) pockets,” David wrote. “From the day they filed in DC I suspected they had influence in the courts there. There is something so very rotten in corporate America and it makes me sad. Anyway… I’m on my yacht in (the) Mediterranean at the moment so they can kiss my hairy Greek ass. This is just a temporary setback we will win on appeal.”

In December 2012, U.S. District Judge George Wu granted an injunction preventing FilmOn (previously known as “Aereokiller”) from transmitting the station signals in California and other states, although he refused to extend the ban nationwide. In his decision, Wu ruled that what FilmOn was doing was a public performance, even if there were one-to-one transmissions to private homes.

Both Aereo and FilmOn have argued that their services are legal because they use discrete, individual antennas dedicated to specific users. The companies say they are effectively renting access to antennas, while customers control the tuning and recording.

But Judge Collyer disagreed with that line of argument.

“This system, through which any member of the public who clicks on the link for the video feed, is hardly akin to an individual user stringing up a television antenna on the roof,” she wrote in the decision. “FilmOn X, which is a commercial service retransmitting Plaintiffs’ television performances, is in no meaningful way different from cable television companies, whose relationship with broadcasters such as Plaintiffs was the primary motivation for the 1976 (Copyright) Act’s enactment.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Can Get a Fair Trial in Manhattan, Says D.A.

    The Manhattan District Attorney’s office argued on Friday that Harvey Weinstein can get a fair trial in Manhattan, and blamed the producer’s defense team for much of the pre-trial publicity in the case. Weinstein’s attorneys have asked an appellate court to transfer the case — which is set to begin on Sept. 9 — to [...]

  • Leonardo DiCaprio Madonna

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna Call for Action on Amazon Wildfires

    As wildfires rage at an alarming rate in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, celebrities are using their platforms to bring awareness to the deforestation’s impact and to call for action. In the past week, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Cara Delevingne and Ariana Grande have taken to Instagram to express their frustration with the lack of [...]

  • 'The Durrells' TV Show

    Greece Sweetens Production Incentives as Struggling Country's Economy Rebounds

    It’s taken the better part of a decade for Greece to show signs of recovery from the crippling crisis that almost pushed it out of the Eurozone. Now, with the economy slowly on the mend, the government is doubling down on efforts to jump-start the local film industry, giving a dramatic overhaul to the incentive [...]

  • Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group Partners With Audiomack

    Warner Music Group announced it has entered a partnership with the music streaming and discovery service Audiomack, marking the platform’s first licensing deal with a major label. According to the announcement, the two companies will work together on content concepts and explore ways to break emerging artists, connecting music fans with rising talent before they [...]

  • Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on

    Scooter Braun Congratulates Taylor Swift on ‘Brilliant’ Album and Campaign

    Two days after Taylor Swift fired off the latest salvo in her battle with Scooter Braun, the manager congratulated the singer on the campaign around her “brilliant” new album, “Lover,” which arrived last night. The message came after Swift said she will be re-recording songs from her first six albums, which are now owned by [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing

    Beverly Hills Realtor Accused of Stealing From Usher, Adam Lambert

    A Beverly Hills real estate agent has been arrested on charges of stealing from the homes of celebrities, including Usher, Adam Lambert and “Real Housewives” star Dorit Kemsley. Jason Emil Yaselli, 32, is accused of encouraging an accomplice, Benjamin Ackerman, to enter homes during open houses in order to steal from them. Ackerman allegedly sold [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content