The Chicago-based PBS station Window to the World has agreed to hold off on its attempt to shut down streaming television service FilmOn X until after the Supreme Court decides whether Aereo is legal, according to court papers filed by FilmOn X.
FilmOn X also says in court documents that it has agreed not to make Window to the World's programs available to users outside the Chicago market, until the Supreme Court issues its ruling.
“FilmOn X believes that it is prudent to stay this action to conserve the resources of the parties and this court,” the company wrote in papers filed last week with the federal court in Illinois. “It is not efficient to continue to litigate this action now when the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in Aereo at the close of this term.”
A PBS lawyer did not respond to Online Media Daily's request for comment.
Like the Barry Diller-backed Aereo, FilmOn X allows users to stream over-the-air TV shows to iPhones, iPads and other devices. The Web-based companies also let users “record” shows and watch them later.
Broadcasters are suing both Aereo and FilmOn X for transmitting television shows without licenses. But both companies argue that they don't need licenses due to their architecture, which uses antennas to capture and stream programs that run over-the-air. The Supreme Court will hear arguments next month about whether Aereo's service infringes copyright; it is expected to issue a decision in June.
For now, a hodgepodge of court decisions has left both operating in some areas of the country, but prohibited in others. While Aereo prevailed in court in New York and Boston, the company lost in Utah. The effect of those rulings means that Aereo is not allowed to operate in six states: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Montana.
But FilmOn X is only allowed to operate its full service in three states: New York, Connecticut and Vermont. That company is otherwise banned from streaming programs of the major networks (though not PBS) in the rest of the country, due to a ruling by a judge in Washington, D.C.
Last year, FilmOn X filed a preemptive lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Window to the World. The startup, which calls its service “a modern high-tech version of the traditional TV antennas,” filed suit after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Window to the World. Window to the Word then countersued for copyright infringement. The broadcaster asked for an order requiring FilmOn X to stop streaming the affiliate's programs.