Jenner & Block

Firm Wins Victory for TV Networks Against Online Streaming Services

Jenner & Block won a significant victory not only for client Fox TV, but for the entire broadcast industry, in one of a series of copyright infringement cases that threaten the current over-the-air broadcasting business model. 

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction in favor of Fox and other networks, against online television streaming service FilmOn X LLC, prohibiting it from retransmitting the broadcasters’ copyrighted programs over the Internet.  The injunction applies nationwide except within the boundaries of the Second Circuit, which has previously ruled against the networks in a similar case. 

In concluding that FilmOn violated Fox’s exclusive right under the federal Copyright Act to “perform the copyrighted work publicly,” the court adopted all of the firm’s arguments with respect to interpretation of the Act’s Transmit Clause.  The court rejected FilmOn’s contention that it merely allows viewers to control mini-antennas.  

This ruling follows the firm’s success last year in the Central District of California, in which we secured a similar injunction against FilmOn and Aereokiller.  That injunction prevents the Internet streaming companies and their owner Alki David from retransmitting, streaming or otherwise publicly performing the local broadcasts of Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC copyrighted programming, without the networks’ consent, within the geographic reach of the Ninth Circuit.

The firm’s team was led by Partners Richard L. Stone, Julie A. Shepard, Paul M. Smith and Amy M. Gallegos along with Kenneth D. Klein and David R. Singer and Associates Ethan A. Glickstein, Christopher S. Lindsay and Jennifer L. Wagman.  Partner Steven B. Fabrizio also provided support.  The same team is fighting the appeal of the California decision in the Ninth Circuit; oral arguments in that case were heard last month.

Several media outlets reported on the D.C. court victory, including the Blog of the Legal Times, Bloomberg, CBS Interactive, Deadline Hollywood, Hollywood Reporter, Variety and The Wall Street Journal (available to subscribers).