A federal judge today found the Alki David-run free-TV-over-the-Internet company in contempt of court for violating a nearly nationwide ban. Hoping to avoid Judge Rosemary Collyer’s wrath, FilmOn X claimed in late October that it was system error that led to copyrighted programming from Fox, NBC and ABC being played on the service in the Boston area in September. Despite her order on September 5 for FilmOn X to go dark everywhere but in New York, Connecticut and Vermont, the DC-based judge did not impose a fine on the company for its one-day indiscretion. Collyer did say in a hearing Monday that she would fine FilmOn X $20,000 a day if there was a repeat of the mistake — intentionally or not.
Not that the often-sued FilmOn X isn’t still involved in legal action. Today’s ruling comes just a few days after the company filed a complaint of its own for declaratory judgment in federal court against the corporate owners of Chicago PSB station WTTW TV that FilmOn X’s service is not a violation of copyright. The November 22 demand for a jury trial (read it here) is in response to November 12 correspondences from Window To The World Communications accusing the Internet service of copyright infringement. Making a number of comparisons between itself and the Barry Diller-backed and also often-sued Aereo, FilmOn X disagrees. “The FilmOn technology at issue enables only private performance. FilmOn does not infringe any copyright,” states the complaint. “Indeed, FilmOn’s technology was specifically designed to comply with the law by rendering only private performance. FilmOn’s service implements legal technology and methods to enable individual users greater access to free-to-air content,” it adds. Let’s see what the judge assigned this case in the Northern District of Illinois Eastern District says to that.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.