The New York Southern District Court has issued a temporary restraining order which stops the online video service FilmOn streaming programming from the major US networks.
FilmOn.com was streaming network programming from the four major US networks, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, claiming it was a de facto ‘cable operator’ and hence allowed to stream the channels. The networks asked the court for an order to stop FilmOn to stream their programming.
In a statement FilmOn CEO and chairman, Alki David, said: “We respect the Court’s decision in this matter and have temporarily ceased retransmission of free network television on FilmOn. In the few weeks FilmOn provided free access to basic television on consumers’ mobile devices, it received more than 30 million individual users. We have, in essence, shown full proof of concept of the FilmOn delivery system—proving that millions of viewers will watch our superior television service online, all with commercials, adding millions of extra impressions that enhance network’s value to its viewers and advertisers.”
The service will remain active, however without the four major networks. “FilmOn has succeeded in securing partnerships with several independent broadcast channels to be able to keep a compelling live offering online in the near future. Coupled with our own library of content and that of our partners, FilmOn will remain open for business.”
Scott Zarin, legal counsel for FilmOn added: “In addressing FilmOn’s argument that it is exempt from copyright infringement liability as a cable system, the court indicated that it was not convinced, on the facts currently known to it, which this is the case.”
The FilmOn case is reminiscent of the Zattoo case in the UK and of the online streaming portal Ivi. Ivi streams TV stations including affiliates of all the major networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, from Seattle and New York. Major US studios have already filed protests with the website. In The UK, Zatttoo was forced to withdraw the BBC channels from its service.