by Joe Mullin, Ars Technica, July 17, 2015
A federal judge has ruled that video-streaming service FilmOn should be treated like a cable company and is entitled to the same compulsory copyright license that cable systems get.
It's a huge and unexpected win, coming not long after Aereo failed when it tried to make the same argument in court. If upheld, the decision would open a route to legal TV-over-Internet businesses--not just for FilmOn but for future competitors.
In his 15-page order, US District Judge George Wu acknowledged that his preliminary decision is in direct conflict with the 2nd Circuit, and he said he'll allow an immediate appeal to the 9th Circuit. The TV broadcasters who sued FilmOn for copyright infringement, which include all four major TV networks, will surely pursue that option.