FilmOn.Com Ordered to Stop Streaming Free TV (update)

Temporary restraining order a victory for networks

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against FilmOn.com, a site that has allowed mobile users to watch TV for free — over the objections of the networks providing the content.

U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the Southern District of New York agreed with Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC in issuing the order Monday. The networks say FilmOn.com has violated their copyrights by streaming their signals with no permission or pay.

The service, which debuted just weeks ago, signed up more than 30 million users, according to FilmOn.com.

In a statement, FilmOn.com CEO and chairman Alki David said Tuesday that the company had "temporarily ceased retransmission of free network television on FilmOn."

He added that the company has "succeeded in securing partnerships with several independent broadcast channels to be able to keep a compelling live offering online in the near future. Coupled with our own library of content and that of our partners, FilmOn will remain open for business. “

The networks said in a joint statement that they were "pleased with the court's order, which was issued after the court had afforded FilmOn and Mr. David a full opportunity to present their position."

The networks are also suing Ivi Inc. for streaming TV station signals of TV stations. Ivi sued in U.S. District Court in Seattle, saying it is within the law. Ivi founder and CEO Todd Weaver issued a statement applauding the ruling against FilmOn, a rival to his company.

"Unlike FilmOn, ivi TV fits the copyright definition of a cable system, restricts its service to the United States, fully encrypts and protects all the content it delivers, and charges a fee to subscribers for its service."

He said ivi also pays a licensing fee to the U.S. Copyright Office, which then distributes payment to broadcasters.