FilmOn: We're Still Delivering Station Signals

FilmOn says it will stay in business and is willing to pay a copyright license fee for delivering broadcast TV stations over the Internet via remote antenna farms, saying it has moved its TV station signals behind a pay wall.

FilmOn's fate appeared to be in question after the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo's delivery of TV station signals over the Web using remote antennas was a public performance akin to a cable operator and subject to copyright payments, which Aereo said it did not have to pay.

FilmOn says it has always been wiling to pay a copyright fee, and, in the wake of the Aereo decision and the Supreme Court's likening of Aereo to a cable system — FilmOn calls it a “very clear designation" applicable to FilmOn as well — has "once again" filed with the U.S. Copyright Office for a compulsory license. FilmOn says it filed for a license.

"Justice Stephen Breyer’s remarks in the Court’s opinion are very clear," said FilmOn in a statement. "If it functions like a cable company, it should be treated like a cable company. He calls the likeness 'overwhelming' and explains it in great detail. FilmOn meets all of the criteria."

FilmOn is not looking to pay retransmission consent fees like cable, however, which are tied to the Communications Act, not Copyright laws. The FCC has yet to weigh in on what Communications Act-related regs should apply to over-the-top providers.

FilmOn is currently providing TV station signals in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, North Bergen, Phoenix, Seattle, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

Broadcasters also sued FilmOn. A decision had been delayed pending the Supreme Court decision.

John Eggerton

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.