Media provocateur Alki David‘s service stopped streaming over-the-air broadcast signals in DC in May, after ABC, Fox, and NBC filed a copyright infringement suit in federal court . But now he says he’s back on in the Nation’s Capitol. He’s also returning fire with a countersuit (read it here) that charges the networks with trying to “abandon their responsibilities to the American public.” The broadcasters have the benefit of using the publicly owned airwaves for free, which also gives them the right to demand carriage on basic cable. In return “the Networks have an obligation to serve the public.” But the filing says that they “continue to attempt to block consumers’ access to valuable and beneficial technologies” like the streaming service provided by David’s company — which had been called Aereokiller and now calls itself FilmOn X. “The FilmOn X technology enhances customers’ ability to watch the same free over-the-air broadcast content that the American public is entitled to receive in accordance with the public interest recognized by Congress and the Supreme Court,” the court filing says. It also alleges that NBC broke the law by refusing to negotiate a carriage deal with FilmOn X:
Read More »
ABC, NBC and Fox today filed a lawsuit against digital entrepreneur Alki David‘s FilmOn and his Aereokiller service, claiming copyright infringement. Allbritton, which owns ABC’s TV station Washington DC also is a plaintiff in the suit. Filed in Federal District Court in D.C. on David’s 45th birthday, the complaint (read it here) is similar to one filed in Los Angeles in August by ABC, NBC and CBS against his streaming site that then was known as BarryDriller.com. It, in turn, hewed closely to a suit filed against the site by Fox days earlier. (David this week finally settled his name-game tussle with Barry Diller and the latter’s Aereo service.)
Related: TV Networks Get Tentative Victory In Aereokiller Streaming Case
David is a media industry provocateur whose FilmOn streams programming taken from over-the-air signals, and it — like Diller’s Aereo — has incurred the wrath of broadcasters. In today’s suit, the networks and Allbritton claim that “Aereokiller provides users and subscribers the ability to receive whichever broadcast station the user or subscriber chooses, ultimately having the ability to watch live broadcast television programming over the Internet using any device. In other words, through the Aereokiller service, Defendants built a business founded on offering its users and subscribers a ‘live’ Internet and mobile streaming service based on Plaintiffs’ television programming, but without authorization or license from Plaintiffs.” Read More »
I’m getting a headache trying to keep track of FilmOn‘s Alki David feud with Aereo, and especially the lawsuits over who has the right to use different corporate names. David’s already defending himself in a suit filed by IAC chief Barry Diller, a major Aereo backer, over a web site David created called BarryDriller.com (it now seems to be defunct); major TV networks also sued David’s streaming service called Aereokiller. Here’s the latest: Yesterday he filed suit at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles alleging that Aereo misappropriated its company name. The story begins in early 2011 when electronics manufacturer Hauppauge Computer Works introduced a product called “WinTV-Aero-m” — it’s a tuner that plugs into computer USB ports so users can watch over-the-air digital TV. FilmOn began to market it about a year ago. And what do you know? This week Hauppauge assigned the trademark for “Aero” to FilmOn. In the new lawsuit, FilmOn charges that Aereo is “seeking to unfairly capitalize on the success of WinTV-Aero-m” hoping to “cause consumer confusion.” Aereo allegedly is attempting to “free-ride off the valuable goodwill developed and associated with the name ‘Aero.’” FilmOn wants the court to stop Aereo from using its name, and to pay unspecified damages. Aereo says that David’s suit ”is not only baseless but frivolous and [the company] will respond to it, as appropriate.”
ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox got a step closer today to shutting down Alki David’s online streaming of their shows. Judge George Wu granted the networks their mutually desired tentative preliminary injunction against the digital entrepreneur’s Aereokiller service this afternoon, Deadline has learned. While that doesn’t mean Aereokiller is shut down as of right now, it does means it could be in select areas with the federal judge’s final ruling, which is expected next week.
Related: NBC, ABC And CBS File Their Own Suit Against “BarryDriller.com” Streaming Site
In response to legal actions by the networks David’s lawyers have argued that the Aereokiller service is not a violation of the Copyright Act. They say that it simply gives consumers the convenient right to privately view TV shows online. Judge Wu said today that the court “would find that defendants’ transmissions are public performances, and therefore infringe plaintiffs’ exclusive right of public performance.” However, Judge Wu’s ruling, tentative and final, could have a limited reach if other federal benches in other jurisdictions are engaged in the case – a fact the judge acknowledged today in court. David launched Aereokiller through his Barry Driller Inc. company immediately after he signed an agreement to pull the plug on a streaming service by his company, FilmOn, and to pay the major broadcasters $1.6 million. Though FilmOn is now back … Read More »
UPDATE, 9:24 AM: Fox put out a statement today in response to the trade libel lawsuit FilmOn filed against them Thursday:
Although we have not seen the suit we welcome the opportunity to let the court determine the legitimacy of Mr. David’s business practices.
PREVIOUSLY, 5:05 PM: FilmOn has countersued Fox Broadcasting Co. and the Fox Television Stations in their continuing legal fight over streaming network programming to mobile devices. FilmOn says it is the licenser and partner in the streaming TV technology behind Alki David’s BarryDriller.com and Aereokiller. The technology uses “mini-antennas” to transmit TV signals to mobile devices. This is similar to the process used by Barry Diller’s Aereo service. ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox have already sued Aereokiller separately. The countersuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here) charges that “Fox has separated from the coalition of other networks … and taken steps — legal and illegal — to put FilmOn out of business”.
Related: Broadcasters Ask Court To Block Aereo
Accusing Fox of trade libel, FilmOn’s suit claims that Fox’s Los Angeles counsel contacted FilmOn’s various potential business partners to “inform” them that FilmOn’s apps violate a federal court injunction against distribution of streaming apps. The potential partners include Apple, Google and Microsoft. Additionally the suit says Fox’s counsel told the potential partners that distribution of the apps would be aiding copyright infringement. FilmOn asserts “Fox knew that these statements were false” … Read More »