The freewheeling head of FilmOn has to stop using names including Aereokiller and BarryDriller.com for his broadcast streaming service according a settlement overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins. The decision appears to end three lawsuits: Last year IAC chief Barry Diller — a major investor in Aereo — sued David for creating a site called BarryDriller.com. In February, David returned fire, suing Aereo for trademark infringement after he bought the naming rights to a product called Aero. And in March, Aereo sued David for creating a site called Aero.tv. Like Aereo, FilmOn streams programming taken from over-the-air signals — and has also incurred the wrath of broadcasters who say that it violates their copyrights. A New York court has allowed Aereo to expand while it weighs the broadcasters’ challenge. But in December a California court granted a temporary injunction that applies locally against David’s service. Even so, he says that with the trademark settlements FilmOn now “can continue rolling out our service nationwide. We are currently in 45 markets compared to Aereo’s two.” He adds in a statement: “So eat s*it Barry.”
Les Moonves is out to get Aereo by any means necessary, but he “doesn’t lose sleep over it,” the CBS Corp president and CEO told the Milken Institute’s Global Conference today. “Barry Diller has done what he likes to do, disrupt things,” Moonves added. However, the CBS chief did say that if the situation couldn’t be resolved in the courts, he is more than willing to take CBS to cable. “We can do it in a few days. If we go to cable, if we are forced to, then about 10% of America will not get our signal and I don’t think they will like that,” Moonves said Tuesday. The CBS chief said that with around 2,000 subscribers in NYC, the “illegal” Aereo won’t hurt the network but that he still intends to shut them down. “We will go after them in the courts and if that doesn’t work there are other remedies. There are financial remedies; there are congressional remedies.” On Monday at the conference, IAC CEO Diller said that CBS and the other broadcasters suing Aereo want Congress to save them if their copyright infringement suits fail. Fox and Univision have also threatened to move to cable if Aereo prevails.
The IAC chief, a major investor in Aereo, says that’s what’s behind recent threats by Fox, CBS, and Univision execs to turn their broadcast networks into pay TV channels if they lose their copyright infringement case against the streaming service. “The law of the U.S. is that if you …
That’s the day when 4.5M people served by Boston’s TV stations who pre-register will be able to stream local broadcast programming from Aereo. Others in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont will be able to subscribe at the end of May. This is the first time Aereo will offer its service outside the New York City area, and is part of the company’s announced plan to expand to 22 markets in 2013. But it also could intensify the Barry Diller-backed company’s fight with broadcasters: It will stream programming from 28 over-the-air channels in Boston without their permission. (Aereo also has an agreement with Bloomberg Television to offer its pay TV channel.) Broadcasters in New York have already taken Aereo to court, alleging that it violates their copyrights. The company counters that it simply rents antennas, enabling subscribers to watch programming that’s already available to them for free. It adds that consumers also have the right to stream their content, much like they would if they bought a Slingbox.
The Barry Diller-backed Aereo got a big legal win from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals today, but broadcasters vow to fight on. The federal court says a U.S. District judge was right last year to refuse broadcasters an injunction against the controversial service that streams broadcasters’ over-the-air signals to its subscribers. “We conclude that Aereo’s transmissions of unique copies of broadcast television programs created at its users’ requests and transmitted while the programs are still airing on broadcast television are not “public performances” of the Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works under Cablevision,” said Judge Christopher Droney writing for the majority (read it here). Said Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia in a statement after the ruling: “We may be a small start-up, but we’ve always believed in standing up and fighting for our consumers. We are grateful for the court’s thoughtful analysis and decision and we look forward to continuing to build a successful business that puts consumers first.”
The broadcasters who provide free TV won’t like this new twist on that concept. Aereo says that it will offer consumers its controversial streams of local TV stations’ programming without charge for an hour a day in its first market, New York City. The change is part of an overhaul of its pricing that’s designed to entice additional people to try the service. But it’s sure to infuriate broadcasters who say Aereo infringes on their copyrights. The Barry Diller-backed service uses tiny antennas to capture TV station signals which it transmits online to subscribers’ computers and mobile devices, adding DVR-like recording and playback capabilities. The hitch is that Aereo doesn’t pay broadcasters. The company says in its release today that “consumers have a fundamental right to access over the air television that broadcasts on the public airwaves, and that enhancing and supporting public access to that local broadcast signal is important.” Two weeks ago the major broadcast networks leading the fight against Aereo lost their effort to shut it down pending a trial on whether the service is legal. Although it has just launched in NYC, Diller recently said that Aereo will be in “every major American city” by the end of 2013.
It’s up to Barry Diller‘s company to chart a course for the Tina Brown-run print and Internet publication. The family of one-time audio pioneer Sidney Harman decided to pull back from the joint venture with IAC. Harman was actively involved in the operation, but he died in April 2011. As a result, “the Harman trust has indicated that it does not intend to make further capital contributions to the venture,” it told Reuters, which broke the story. Harman’s wife, former California Rep. Jane Harman, will remain on the board. The big question now is how long Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp will be willing to stick by Newsweek/Daily Beast. Word has it the board doesn’t like the business, although Diller’s control of 42.8% of the company votes means he usually gets what he wants. The print publication had an operating loss of about $39.5M in 2009; the Washington Post sold it in 2010 to Harman for $1 along with his assumption of liabilities. But its circulation has continued to fall: It was down 31.6% in 2010 and then 3.4% last year to 1.5M. Meanwhile, the ad-supported online publication is estimated to be losing about $10M a year.
EXCLUSIVE: Barry Diller and Scott Rudin are in exploratory talks to launch an e-book business for both fiction and non-fiction. I’m told they have had a lot of exploratory conversations and I expect an announcement of a venture launch shortly with major investment capital. The ramifications will be …
And Barry Diller isn’t even a Hollywood mogul anymore… Where are the rest of the movie/TV machers pulling down huge annual compensations?
Los Angeles, CA, June 5, 2012 – George Clooney, a member of the Motion Picture & Television Fund Board of Directors, today announced that Barry Diller and his family have stepped forward with a $30 million legacy gift towards the previously announced MPTF Campaign goal of $350 million being led by Jeffrey Katzenberg, MPTF board member and chairman of the MPTF Foundation.