But (some of) the show still goes on at Internet cable operation
Bad news for FilmOn.com. On November 22, a federal judge in New York ordered it not to “infring[e] by any means, directly or indirectly”, any copyrights owned by CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald made sure that the scope of her order included (but wasn’t limited to), the “streaming over mobile telephone systems and/or the Internet of any of the broadcast television programming in which any plaintiff [that would be any of the networks] owns a copyright”.
The order – technically termed a Temporary Restraining Order or (among the cognoscenti) a TRO – will be in effect pending a full hearing on the nets’ related request for a preliminary injunction against FilmOn.com.
This isn’t necessarily the end of the road for FilmOn.com, though. As we pointed out when we first described FilmOn.com to our readers last month, there are many moves to be made on the various litigation chessboards already in play. And even in this particular case, a TRO is just a first step in the process. The networks have asked for more permanent relief – in the form of an injunction – against FilmOn.com’s allegedly infringing activities. But before an injunction can issue, the court will let all the parties submit written arguments and then hold a hearing. The hearing date hasn’t been set yet, but the judge’s order specifies that all papers must be filed by December 13, so it doesn’t look like there’s going to be much foot-dragging here.
Nor does the fact that a TRO has issued necessarily mean that the court will issue an injunction. It just means that the judge was satisfied that the networks had a good enough case to warrant putting a hold on FilmOn.com’s activities until a hearing could be held to sort everything out.
According to a statement issued by FilmOn.com, it has “temporarily ceased retransmission of free network television” on its service. It’s still “open for business”, though, relying on its own “library of content” along with several independent broadcasters who have apparently signed up with it. Check back here for updates.