“The judge is clearly in (the broadcasters’) pockets. From the day they filed in D.C. I suspected they had influence in the courts there. There is something so very rotten in corporate America and it makes me sad.”
— Alki David, CEO of FilmOn X, in an email to Variety after a judge ordered his company to stop most streaming services until a lawsuit brought by broadcasters is resolved. Like higher-profile service Aereo, FilmOn (formerly known as Aereokiller) allows users to watch live TV on the Internet by streaming local and national programs. Broadcasters including Fox and others say Beverly Hills-based FilmOn, which does not pay them and contends each transmission is a private performance because it makes its way from a single antenna to an individual subscriber, infringes on their copyrights. “Singing in the shower is a private performance. Sending transmissions to 50,000 customers is not singing in the shower,” Robert Garrett, a lawyer for NBC, reportedly told judges a couple of weeks ago. An appeals court is set to rule on an appeal by FilmOn in the next few weeks.
Aereo, the streaming TV service backed by mogul Barry Diller, also has been hit with legal challenges. But as Troy Wolverton has written for SiliconBeat, the New York company has so far prevailed and is planning to expand its services. But the FilmOn ruling is being seen as a possible setback for Aereo.
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