Los Angeles – A federal court has issued a temporary
restraining order shutting down FilmOn.com, a site offering free streams of
network television programming. The four major broadcast networks — ABC (NYSE: DIS), CBS (NYSE: CBS),
Fox (NYSE: NWS) and NBC (NYSE: GE) — sued FilmOn.com for copyright infringement, arguing the service
was making unauthorized online retransmissions of their broadcasts. "We
respect the Court’s decision in this matter and have temporarily ceased
retransmission of free network television on FilmOn," the company said in
a statement, adding that 30 million users had used its service in the few weeks
it has been available.
FilmOn legal counsel Scott Zarin notes that the court
"is providing FilmOn with an opportunity to elaborate upon its ‘cable
system’ argument more thoroughly in a hearing on the Networks’ request for a
preliminary injunction," referring to the company’s argument that it is
exempt from copyright infringement liability because it should be considered a
"We do expect to bring the major networks back to our lineup
in the near future, all in a legitimate and collaborative business model,"
FilmOn’s statement continues.
"We have already begun very positive
discussions with TV networks affiliates and other content owners to provide our
delivery service and measurement analytics to stream their live content
The court-ordered shutdown of FilmOn may not bode well for Ivi, a
similar TV streaming service launched recently that has also been sued for
copyright infringement by the broadcast networks.