Online TV service FilmOn has secured a victory in its US legal battle to be treated as the equivalent of traditional cable operator, enabling to legally retransmit broadcast signals over the web.
The US District Court in Los Angeles ruled that FilmOn is entitled to rebroadcast programmes if it meets all legal requirements. However, District Judge George Wu allowed an appeal by Fox Networks, who have claimed that online TV services that transmit their content violate their copyright. US broadcasters are highly resistant to the application of the law guaranteeing re-broadcast rights to OTT providers. However the US FCC is currently considering whether such providers should be categorized as MPVDs, giving them equal status to cable operators.
Wu’s ruling disagreed with a previous case, where a Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against OTT service Ivi, which had attempted to apply the right to re-broadcast to with its own service.
FilmOn is currently banned from streaming broadcasters’ content under an injunction secured by the latter three years ago, which remains in place for now.
Last year, FilmOn was fined for violating that injunction, with a court rejecting its claim that its technology was similar to that of now defunct mini-antenna-based re-broadcaster Aereo.
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