Judge Rejects FilmOn X's Request To Modify Ban

A federal judge in Washington late Tuesday rejected FilmOn X's request to modify her injunction banning the company from operating in 47 states.

FilmOn X has provided no basis for the court to modify the preliminary injunction,” U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in a three-page order.

Collyer also directed FilmOn X to explain why it should not be held in contempt for allegedly violating the injunction. “It appears that FilmOn X may be acting in defiance of this court’s preliminary injunction, possibly by retransmitting plaintiffs’ copyrighted broadcast programming in the Boston area,” she wrote. She ordered FilmOn X to file papers defending itself by Monday.

The ruling came the same day that TV broadcasters asked Collyer to turn down FilmOn X's request to partially lift her injunction. FilmOn X, like the Barry Diller-backed Aereo, lets people stream over-the-air TV programs to iPads, iPhones and other devices. The companies also enable subscribers to record shows and stream them later.

TV broadcasters have sued the services for allegedly infringing copyright by transmitting TV shows without licenses. But both companies say their services are legal due to their design, which relies on thousands of antennas to capture over-the-air broadcasts and stream them to users.

The case in front of Collyer is one of five lawsuits against Aereo and FilmOn X. Aereo has prevailed so far in New York, where a trial judge and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said that the service did not appear to infringe copyright. Last week, Aereo also defeated the networks' request for an injunction in Boston, but that case has not reached an appeals court yet. A third lawsuit against Aereo in Utah hasn't yet yielded any decisions.

Even though FilmOn X uses virtually identical technology to Aereo, that company has lost in trial courts in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. FilmOn X is appealing both of those rulings.

The recent rulings, taken together, have left Aereo free to roll out its service in most of the country, but prevent FilmOn X from operating anywhere except within the 2nd Circuit -- which includes New York, Vermont and Connecticut.

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