Broadcasters Obtain Second Win in Court Case against FilmOn

Several lawsuits have resulted from the emergence of live streaming services broadcasting television via the internet.  Music streaming companies such as Napster involved similar issues, but the courts have only recently tackled the issue of television streaming.

A recent decision in Washington, D.C. granted a preliminary injunction against FilmOn, providing some insight into the future of these copyright issues.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia handed out a preliminary injunction as the second win for the broadcasters in a series of three decisions in their copyright battle.

Both television streaming companies (FilmOn used to be associated with Aereo under a different name before striking out on its own) contend that they are not in violation of the law because they merely provide consumers with their own antennae, not access to the copyrighted content.

While it appears that the broadcasters involved in the lawsuit against FilmOn (Fox, NBC Universal, Telemundo, ABC, CBS, Allbritton Communications, Gannett Co.) will achieve a victory, having already been granted an injunction preventing FilmOn from continuing to stream television from their networks without permission, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s decision opposes a New York court’s decision in a similar case there against the streaming company Aereo.

What does this mean for the issue of copyright law associated with live streaming? It could mean that the issue will reach the Supreme Court. While the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia’s decision extends to many territories beyond the D.C. area, the injunction is not nation-wide. It is yet to be determined whether or not the issue will reach the Supreme Court, but two major decisions reaching opposite conclusions opens a door to that possibility.  

Tune into our blog next week for a more comprehensive run through of the Court’s decision.

The Patterson Law Firm has handled many intellectual property cases and we stay abreast of the trends within this sphere in order to provide the best service to our clients. To learn more about the services we offer visit or call 312.223.1699.


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