Online content provider Aereo could face an uncertain future after a federal court in Washington DC granted a preliminary injunction against another provider, FilmOn X, brought by US broadcasters.
ABC, NBC and Fox TV had argued that FilmOn X was “violating their exclusive right to public performance of their copyrighted works, which include local programs and some of the country’s most popular evening television shows”.
District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled that FilmOnX’s service violates copyright laws. “The court finds that the provisions of the 1976 [Telecommunications] Act that protect plaintiffs work are clear,” she wrote.
Judge Collyer rejected FilmOn X’s argument that its thousands of mini antennas, each tied to an individual subscriber – like Aereo’s service – mean the company is not retransmitting a broadcaster’s signal.
In a statement issued after the hearing, Fox said: “We are pleased, but not surprised, that the court recognised 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.”
Like Aereo, FilmOn X retransmits local TV programming over the internet without paying broadcasters.
It broadcasts 200 live TV channels, along with 500 video and audio podcasts from brands.