Fox Television on Friday filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit to shut down Alki David's latest streaming Internet venture, BarryDriller.com, alleging that the service "has infringed on Fox's copyrights and trademarks by retransmitting is broadcast shows without the company's permission."
BarryDriller.com, first off, has nothing to do with Barry Diller, a lead investor in New York-based TV-over-Internet provider Aereo other than sharing a name. It has something to do with Aereo since it, too, uses a remote antenna system to bring in the broadcast channels. Unlike Aereo, which won a court fight to continue its service--including offering recording capabilities--BarryDriller.com permits only live broadcasts.
Finally, it has a lot of do with FilmOn, a broadcasts-over-streaming Internet service that David launched and then had shot down in court in 2010, after broadcasters objected to its business model. This time, David is following Aereo--to an extent--because it won the right to survive by using a small "remote" antenna to pick up the over-the-air signals.
"The networks should be loving us, not hating us," David told Advanced Television. "Whether they like it or not, free TV is meant to be free. BarryDriller/FilmOn is constitutionally entitled to distribute the free-to-air channels."
He even said that he offered to pay for the programming but "never got our day in court to demonstrate why we should fall under section 111 of the copyright act."
If it all sounds confusing, it is. If it sounds amusing, Fox doesn't think so. It wants the service to stop transmitting its signals and pay damages for having done so in the past.
"No amount of technological gimmickry ... changes the fundamental principle of copyright law that those who wish to retransmit plaintiffs' broadcasts may do so only with plaintiffs' authority," Advanced Television quoted Fox as saying.
For its part, Aereo's not amused by BarryDriller.com, FilmOn or David, either.
"We have no knowledge of Mr. David's business arrangements or his purported 'technology. Neither Mr. David nor FilmOn have any association with Aereo. It is unfortunate that they appear determined to try to trade on Aereo and its board members successes and reputation," the company said in a statement to Multichannel News.
All of which apparently leaves David unfazed.
"FilmOn has cables and their numbers are growing. We have subscribers, they are definitely growing. Bring it on Fox, you have no idea what you have just done," he told Advanced Television.
Fox filed its lawsuit Aug. 10 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The case is Fox Television Stations et al v. BarryDriller Content Systems, No. CV12-6921, C.D. Cal. (Los Angeles).
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