Judge temporarily shuts down FilmOn.com's streaming of broadcasters' content

FilmOn.com, which has been streaming broadcast networks' signals across the Internet and charging customers $10 a month subscriptions, has been issued a temporary restraining order, which the company says it's complying with--for now.

A federal judge in New York issued the TRO pending the courts deciding whether it will issue a preliminary injunction.

Broadcasters sued the company, claiming it was infringing on their copyrights.

But FilmOn.com's billionaire owner, David Akai, says that while he's shut down streaming the network content, he's "begun very positive discussions with TV networks affiliates and other content owners to provide our delivery service and measurement analytics to stream their live content online." He's convinced he can get ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox to give FilmOn.com license to operate.

"Now we've got them under one courtroom roof, hopefully we can get a license from them," the 42-year-old soda bottling heir said. "This reiterates to me that this type of narrow-mindedness will be the demise of the networks unless they embrace IP technology. It's the elephant in the room, and nobody is embracing it. The technology is there today to deliver television anywhere."

Next up in court is Seattle-based ivi.TV, which also has a suit filed against it in U.S. District Court of Southern New York by broadcasters seeking to shut it down.

ivi.TV CEO Todd Weaver said the court's action in issuing a restraining order against FilmOn.com was correct because, unlike ivi.TV, FilmOn.com "doesn't fit the copyright definition of a cable system, distributes content outside the U.S. in an unprotected format, and offers its service free of charge, which is a clear violation of all applicable copyright law."

"The Court's ruling gives us faith in the judicial system to effectively separate those operating in good faith abiding by every letter of the law, and those like FilmOn who publicly brag about being 'cavalier' towards copyright law," Weaver said. Ivi.TV, he said "fits the copyright definition of a cable system, restricts its service to the United States, fully encrypts and protects all the content it delivers, and charges a fee to subscribers for its service."

The company also pays license fee to the U.S. Copyright Office, which in turn distributes payment to broadcasters.

"Judge Buchwald stated it best when she denied the networks' motion to inappropriately associate ivi with the FilmOn case by ruling, ‘CASE DECLINED AS NOT RELATED,'" said Weaver.

For more:
- see this article on FilmOn.com
- see the ivi.TV statement

Related articles:
FilmOn offering live Internet TV in HD for $10 a month
FilmOn's $10-a-month HD TV content over the Internet plan draws a lawsuit
Controversial live Internet TV service goes mobile