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FilmOn.Com Ordered to Stop Streaming Free TV — 2 Comments

  1. MOre on this story from rapidtvnews.com

    Online TV provider FilmOn.com got its day in court this week, resulting in a temporary court order to cease operations issued 22 November. It said today that it is complying, but has every confidence that it can come to an agreement with content owners.

    The tiny start-up bills itself as a “cable company” and therefore a valid distribution channel, charging $10 per month to give online viewers acces to retransmitted local broadcast feeds. Since its September launch, it says it has generated more than 30 million streams for users, bolstering its revenue-generating potential for broadcasters.

    “Our network proves that millions of viewers will watch our … superior service, all with commercials, adding millions of extra impressions that enhance network’s value to viewers and advertisers,” said billionaire CEO Alki David, in a statement.

    The problem, in the eyes of NBC, FOX, ABC and CBS, is that it’s not paying carriage fees, and they aren’t seeing any of that revenue. Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit filed by the broadcasters alleges that FilmOn.com violates copyrights by repurposing content without authorization. The U.S. District Court in New York issued a restraining order in response.

    “We respect the court’s decision in this matter and have temporarily ceased transmission of free network television,” Akai said. However, he also says that he’s begin “positive” conversations with the networks, and is confident that he’ll end up with an operating agreement.

    But just in case, “it will be drafting papers in opposition in the coming weeks, with which it expects to submit the opinion of an expert on FilmOn’s technology,” Scott Zarin, a lawyer representing the Los Angeles service, said in a statement.

    Separately, a court in Seattle is expected to hand down a ruling in the case of Ivi.com, which has the same model as FilmOn and which is facing a near-identical copyright infringement case.


  2. And even more today…again from rapidtvnews

    Online TV provider FilmOn.com has ratcheted up the bad feeling against major content owners by publishing an open letter to CBS accusing it of highly defamatory allegations and grave libels asking the broadcaster for compensation.

    Up until 22 November when it received a cease and desist order, FilmOn charged $10 per month to give online viewers access to retransmitted local broadcast TV feeds. FilmOn has complied with the restraining court order and at the time said that it had every confidence that it could come to an agreement with content owners and construct a deal that was mutually beneficially.

    However such hopes appear to have been wrecked by the publication of the letter by London based law firm, Hamlins LLP, on behalf on FilmOn founder Alki David, reacting to a statement on the Thomson Reuters website to which CBS is alleged to be a co-signatory, stating that “FilmOn.com is the latest in a short line of companies that has robbed our broadcast signals and distributed them illegally for their own commercial gain.”

    Refuting the claims on behalf of its client, Hamlins told CBS said: “Your Company’s Statement contains the highly defamatory allegation that our client is guilty of theft and that it carries out robberies. Such an allegation bears the natural and ordinary meaning that our client is in the business of stealing property by means of force or fear.

    “Your Statement goes on to allege that our client then sells on the stolen material illegally. Both allegations impute serious criminal conduct on the part of our client. Neither allegation is capable of justification. As you are very well aware, these allegations are false and no Court in this country, or anywhere in the world, has made any such findings against our client. We have advised our client that your defamatory allegations constitute grave libels of our client.”

    Hamlins added that FilmOn was entitled to hold CBS liable in respect of the foreseeable republications stemming from your Statement and issues a series of demands to CBS.

    Namely it requested that by 4 January 2011, fourteen days after issuing the letter, CBS would undertake not to repeat the same or any similar allegations concerning FilmOn; publish a further Statement, by way of apology to FilmOn; pay FilmOn’s ‘reasonable’ legal costs incurred and to be incurred in bringing this matter to its your attention; pay compensation in a sum to be agreed for the damage calculated to be caused and presumed to flow from publication and foreseeable republications of the ‘defamatory’ statement.


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