While the Supreme Court ruling on ABC and Broadcasters v. Aereo on June 25 may have put an end to the use of remote antennas to stream broadcast signals without royalties, FilmOn Networks has released a statement asserting that, using Section 111 of the Copyright Act, it can continue to provide local broadcast television from 18 markets to subscribers nationwide using its Teleporter technology.
As CEO Alki David predicted during appearances on Bloomberg News in 2012 and 2013, the result of the Supreme Court hearings has been that FilmOn should be regulated just as any other cable company. In those interviews David makes it clear he has always been willing to pay license fees to local TV broadcasters.
The Networks never could make up their mind about how they wanted to play this: In 2010, well before Aereo launched, CBS Networks sued FilmOn arguing that it was not a cable company. More recently, in the case before the 9thcircuit – which is still pending — the Networks argued that FilmOn was a cable company.
Now that the Supreme Court has made a very clear designation of Aereo and FilmOn as cable companies, FilmOn has once again filed with the United States Copyright Office for Compulsory License under Section 111 of the Copyright Act of 1976. (It originally filed for the same license in 2011 and the request was neither granted nor denied).
“This was always about dragging the television business kicking and screaming into the 21st century,” says David. “FilmOn’s efforts were never about violating copyright as the Networks sought to portray it. The goal was always to deliver the experience consumers want and deserve, without exorbitant fees and the tyranny of bundling.”