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.

Business

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Digital Trends Live

Twitch streamer Fuslie gives a glimpse of her life and future plans

Today, we welcomed Twitch streamer Fuslie to talk about how her career goals shifted from becoming a veterinarian to a full-time streamer. Also, she shared what her future plans are for streaming and created content.
Gaming

Take-Two Interactive takes down another ‘GTA Online’ modder, seeks $150K

Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games have filed a lawsuit against the GTA Online modder behind the software named Elusive. The publisher is continuing its crackdown against GTA Online mods.
Movies & TV

Ice meets fire in HBO's latest 'Game of Thrones' season 8 teaser

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Movies & TV

Our first look at 'The Punisher' season 2 hints at January 2019 premiere

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero, Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Home Theater

Vizio is still rocking the Black Friday spirit with these TV and soundbar deals

If you missed out on all the great TV deals this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don't worry, Vizio has you covered. The company has some great discounts on its most popular 4K TVs and sounbar systems. But don't delay -- some of these…
Product Review

Step aside, Sonos: Riva's Concert is the best smart speaker you can buy

The Riva Concert series speaker is a fantastic, small-profile smart speaker with Alexa integration, truly excellent sound, and great looks, making it the perfect addition to your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Home Theater

Anker’s micro projectors get an equally small price in time for the holidays

Looking for a great deal on a tiny video projector? Anker has some tiny prices on three of their smallest devices. With features like Android 7.1 and designs as small as a can of soda, these projectors make the perfect travel companions.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ season 2 gets a new, Spock-heavy trailer

CBS has released a new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, which premieres January 17 on CBS All Access. The new trailer features series newcomers Spock and Christopher Pike prominently.
Home Theater

From soundbars to headphones, here are the best audio deals this holiday season

Whether you're looking for a great new pair of headphones or a fantastic new soundbar to bolster the sound of your brand-new television, these are the best audio deals to be found this holiday season.
Home Theater

Radiohead, The Cure, and more to join Rock Hall of Fame. Listen to their hits

Radiohead, The Cure, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, and more have been selected to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Here are our favorite songs from the four artists' hit-filled careers.
Deals

LG’s most affordable OLED TVs now come with $170 to $260 in gift cards

Trusted electronics retailer ABT is offering LG's most affordable OLED TV, the B8 series with $170 and $260 gift cards for the 55- and 65-inch models, respectively. While the OLED TVs don't often go on sale gift cards like this are…