FilmOn defeat could spell doom for Aereo

Aereo, which, to this point has had more lives than Rasputin, may have been fatally wounded when a federal court granted the wishes of broadcasters and filed a preliminary injunction against like-minded online TV provider FilmOn.

Pay TV service providers, meanwhile, have yet more reasons to be discouraged that the government is going to step in and do anything about retransmission fees that can--and often do--become contentious points of dispute between broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).

In the most recent court action, three networks, ABC, NBC and Fox Television had argued that FilmOn was "violating their exclusive right to public performance of their copyrighted works," among other things, and asked the court to tell FilmOn to essentially stop it, according to a story in Broadband TV News. The court, located in Washington, D.C., essentially did that, basing its decision on copyright laws.

"The court finds that the provisions of the 1976 (Telecommunications) Act that protect plaintiffs work are clear," Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in the ruling, according to a story in IPTV News, rejecting FilmOn's defense that it was actually receiving the content via thousands of mini antennas tied to individual subscribers, not retransmitting it.

Aereo could now fall victim to the same fate since it, too, has built a business on delivering broadcast signals over the Internet without paying broadcasters for the right.

It's unclear what direction the two Internet TV providers will now pursue. FilmOn CEO Alki David told Deadline.com that his service would continue without the broadcast networks. Aereo, since it wasn't directly impacted by the decision, wasn't asked.

Fox, meanwhile, issued a comment of its own, noting that the decision "should finally put the matter to rest and will hopefully discourage other illegal services from attempting to steal our content."

For more:
- Broadband TV News carried this story
- and IPTV News had this story

Related articles:
CEA claims only 7% of Americans rely on over-the-air TV, draws criticism from NAB
Aereo announces Atlanta metro launch, changes pricing plan to $8 monthly
The case for Aereo: is the air really free and if so, who pays for what crosses it?

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