Window To The World Slams FilmOn, Opposes Bid For Cable License

Online video distributor FilmOn X is a “repeat infringer” with a “long history of violating copyright owners’ exclusive rights,” the broadcaster Window to the World alleges in new court papers filed on Wednesday.

Window to the World, which operates a PBS station in the Illinois area, is asking U.S. District Court Judge Charles Kocoras in the Eastern District of Illinois to order FilmOn X to pay damages for alleged copyright infringement, and to refrain from transmitting programs without authorization in the future.

The broadcaster also wants Kocoras to reject FilmOn's recent argument that it's should be awarded a cable license.
Window to the World's papers come in response to a motion filed in October by FilmOn, which asked Kocoras to rule that it's entitled to a compulsory cable license.

FilmOn, like the now-bankrupt Aereo, aimed to stream television programs over the Internet. Both companies said that they used tiny antennas to capture programs and stream them to users on a one-to-one basis.

TV broadcasters sued FilmOn and Aereo for copyright infringement by publicly performing programs without licenses.
FilmOn and Aereo argued that they didn't need licenses because their transmissions were “private” performances, not public ones.

The Supreme Court rejected that stance in June, in a lawsuit involving Aereo. The court said in its ruling that Aereo resembled a cable system and therefore couldn't transmit television shows without a license.

Aereo stopped operating three days after that ruling. FilmOn said that it stopped operating several days later. Both video distributors also shifted legal strategies and began arguing they were entitled to compulsory licenses. Aereo recently declared bankruptcy, resulting in a stay of the copyright litigation against the company.

But FilmOn is still in business and continues to battle the broadcasters in courts throughout the country.
Judges in New York, Los Angeles and Washington have issued injunctions prohibiting FilmOn from streaming broadcasters' programs without authorization.

In August, U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald specifically rejected FilmOn's argument that it was entitled to a cable license. FilmOn is appealing that ruling to the 2nd Circuit and is expected to file papers in that case by the end of the week.

Buchwald said that even though the Supreme Court compared Aereo (and implicitly FilmOn) to cable systems, the court didn't transform the companies into cable systems.

Window to the World now says that ruling is correct and should be followed by Kocoras. “The Supreme Court did not hold — as FilmOn X claims — that Aereo is in fact a cable company, nor did it hold that Aereo is entitled to a compulsory license,” the broadcaster argues.

1 comment about "Window To The World Slams FilmOn, Opposes Bid For Cable License".
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  1. Jenny Pratt from Unicorn, December 16, 2014 at 4:24 p.m.

    Windows is already dead.

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