FilmOn.com has decided to temporarily stop
streaming TV station signals in light of the temporary restraining order (TRO)
a New York federal judge was issuing Tuesday morning.
That TRO is while the court decides the larger issue
of enjoining the service longer-term while it decides the larger question of
"We respect the Court's decision in this matter
and have temporarily ceased retransmission of free network television on
FilmOn," the company said in a statement. "In the few
weeks FilmOn provided free access to basic television on consumers' mobile
devices [since Sept 27], it received more than 30 million individual users. We
also garnered dozens of positive reviews about our free service's quality and
ease of use. We have, in essence, shown full proof of concept of
the FilmOn delivery system--proving that millions of viewers will watch
our superior television service online, all with commercials, adding millions
of extra impressions that enhance network's value to its viewers and
FilmOn did not seek retransmission consent
deals with the stations it streamed, leading the big four networks and their
studios to sue for copyright infringement and an injunction.
FilmOn said it plans to get those stations
back online sometime in the future in a "legitimate and collaborative
According to FilmOn lawyer Scott Zarin, the
judge was not convinced of its argument that it was exempt from copyright
infringement as a cable system, but that it will have more opportunities to
make the case in a hearing on the preliminary injunction.
FilmOn argues that, like cable systems, it
has a retransmission right under copyright law, but unlike a cable system, it
is not subject to retrans rules because the FCC has not officially weighed
in on whether an online streaming site is a cable system subject to those
Broadcasters have also sued ivi TV, a streaming site that is
similarly carrying TV station signals online without having paid retrans
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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