D.C. Court Rejects FilmOn X Claim to Compulsory License [telecom]

Meanwhile, on the East Coast: D.C. Court Rejects FilmOn X Claim to Compulsory License By Kevin Goldberg, CommLawBlog, December 16, 2015

But District Court decision could be key to a return to the Supreme Court for Aereo-related issues.

FilmOn X's fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. But for FilmOn X, that might not be a totally bad thing.

Longtime readers will be familiar with FilmOn X, the Aereo doppelganger. When Aereo burst on the scene several years ago with its Internet-based, tiny-antenna approach to the delivery of over-the-air television programming, FilmOn X followed suit with its own, near-identical system. Parallel copyright litigation ensued, Aereo duking it out with broadcasters in New York while FilmOn X faced off against broadcasters in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Aereo started strong, winning key victories (in both the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit), while FilmOn X didn't. But in 2014 Aereo's streak ended in the Supreme Court, which reversed the Second Circuit's decision upholding Aereo's approach. The Supremes seemed swayed by the fact that Aereo looked for all the world like a cable TV operation -- not a mere equipment provider (as Aereo urged) -- and, accordingly, the Court concluded that Aereo was retransmitting copyrighted content, for which it needed a license that it didn't have.

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Neal McLain

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