Broadcasters Up Their Attack on Aereo-Like FilmOnX

In a court filing, the broadcasters charge that FilmOnX is “a broadcast retransmission service, not a technology provider”

Washington, D.C., broadcasters including Fox, NBC and ABC have offered additional justifications for a nationwide injunction to stop Aereo-like FilmOnX.

In a filing late Friday in Federal District Court, the broadcasters charged that FilmOnX — which has changed its name from Aereokiller — is “a broadcast retransmission service, not a technology provider.”

Like Aereo, FilmOnX uses thousands of tiny local antennas to gather signals from local TV stations and provide them to subscribers.

Also read: Aereo Lawsuit: Networks Seek Re-Hearing After Appeals Court Setback

Broadcasters charged that FilmOnX is illegally offering retransmission services, noting it has already been blocked from offering its services by a Los Angeles court.

In the D.C. suit, set for a hearing Sept. 20, both FilmOnX and the broadcasters have cited favorable court rulings. FilmOnX noted a 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals case in which a divided three-judge panel refused to issue an injunction, while broadcasters pointed to the Los Angeles ruling. 

 ”FilmOnX cannot obscure the uncontroverted fact that it allows thousands and potentially millions of viewers to watch the same broadcasts of some of most valuable copyrighted programming in the world. FilmOnX engages in copyright infringement,” said the filing.

Also read: Aereo to Launch Miami, Houston and Dallas Service in September

“The simple fact is that under the transmit clause, if a party transmits a performance of a copyrighted work to the public, by any device or process — via a big antenna or mini-antennas, via cable — they are liable for copyright infringement.”

Both Aereo and FilmOnX say that because each subscriber has his or her own antenna, their systems don't retransmit signals. Neither system pays the retransmission fees that cable systems pay to offer broadcast channels on their systems.

FilmOnX is controlled by digital media entrepreneur Alki David, who has filed a suit accusing Aereo investor Barry Diller of stealing the “Aereo” name.

 

  • Dave Jameson

    These re-broadcasters are parasites, unless they are kicking back to the source broadcasters a 50-percent cut of their net–not gross–profits. In that case, it would look to me like a healthy symbiosis, a viable partnership.