Federal judge threatens to hold FilmOn in contempt of court

filmon treated as cable provider
A federal judge is strongly considering holding streaming video service FilmOn.TV in contempt of court for continuing its operations, even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Aereo was guilty of copyright infringement, according to a new report by Advanced Television. Following the contempt hearing for the copy-cat service that mirrors Aereo’s model, U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said she was “inclined to grant the contempt motion.” Despite her apparent inclination toward granting the motion, Judge Buchwald has yet to issue an official ruling or decide on what specific sanctions, if any, she would impose.

Late last month, the Supreme Court denounced Aereo’s retransmission of network broadcasts online without paying licensing fees as illegal. But shortly after the decision, FilmOn, a rival previously known as AereoKiller, vowed to stay in business. The service transitioned from operating as a free service by moving behind a “paywall” with plans to negotiate for the licensing of content in accordance with the Court’s decision. However, it continued to operate for weeks after the Supreme Court’s injunction, without obtaining such licenses.

Over the course of this drawn-out saga the larger target of the two, Aereo, claimed that paying licensing fees would put it out of business, before completely shifting tactics and applying for licensing under the same premise as FilmOn has put forth, attempting to obtain cable company status. However, Aereo’s efforts were derailed by the U.S. Copyright Office, which refused to process its application.

Meanwhile, FilmOn has consistently maintained that it is willing to pay up in order to continue operations. Alki David, FilmOn’s outspoken CEO, claimed that his service would begin acting like a cable company to, in a nutshell, play by the Court’s rules.

But, like Aereo, FilmOn’s clever maneuvering has yet to pass muster with the federal government. According to the Advanced Television report, the Judge Buchwald said that the streaming service can’t simply decide, singlehandedly, that it’s suddenly a cable company. “You don’t have the right to predict how the law is going to change when you’re subject to an injunction,” Judge Buchwald said. “There was no change in the law that gave FilmOn legal permission to do what it did.” The Judge reportedly told FilmOn’s lawyer that the company should have removed the broadcasters’ programs as soon as the Supreme Court ruling came down.

The contempt hearing was technically a continuation of a 2010 lawsuit by broadcasters against FilmOn that ended in an injunction prohibiting the service from infringing broadcasters’ copyrights. While FilmOn and Aereo both appear determined to put up the good fight, for now, both services appear to be closed for business. We’ll be following this story closely, so stay tuned.

Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Gaming

Having issues with your PS4? Check out our solutions to its most common problems

Just because the PlayStation 4 is a remarkable system doesn't mean that it's immune to the occasional hiccup. Thankfully, we've vetted some of the bigger PS4 problems and found solutions for whatever might ail you.
Home Theater

Apple is arming up to redefine TV just like it did the phone

Curious about what Apple's answer to Netflix will be? Us too. So we combed through some patents, and looked at the landscape, to come up with a bold prediction: Apple's streaming service will be way bigger than anyone thinks.
Home Theater

Make the most out of your new Apple TV with these must-have apps

If you're looking to turn your fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K into an all-in-one entertainment powerhouse, we can help you get started with this list of the best Apple TV apps you can download.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Home Theater

Still wondering why you should buy a smart TV? Here's what you should consider

If you've been living under a rock, you might wonder: What is a smart TV, anyway? Luckily, we've put together a quick-hit guide to teach you everything you need to know about televisions with big brains.
Movies & TV

LeBron James’ Space Jam 2 gets an official release date

LeBron James has brought on Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to produce his upcoming Space Jam sequel, with Terence Nance attached to direct the film. Space Jam 2 is expected to hit theaters in July 2021.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Home Theater

Apple may be making noise-canceling headphones safer to use on the streets

Over-the-ear headphones are massively popular, but they block a lot of outside sounds, which increases the risk of accidents. A new Apple invention hints at a way to have great sound, and great safety, and it might be coming soon.
Movies & TV

Battle of the movie ticket sites: How to make sense of the fledgling industry

MoviePass may be the industry leader in subscription-based movie ticket sales, but the company's troubles have opened the door for competitors AMC Stubs A-List, Sinemia, and Cinemark Movie Club. Here's how the services compare.
Home Theater

Bask in the glory of your home theater with these 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies

What good is a 4K TV if you don't have the means of pushing it to its limits? Here are our favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, all of which are nothing short of stunning. It'll make you wonder why you haven't always watched movies this way.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as difficult as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.