UPDATE, 6:30 PM: The lawyer for Aereokiller LLC — the Alki David company behind BarryDriller.com — wrote a letter to NBC’s lawyer today saying that the streaming site will suspend carriage of KNBC “pending an orderly resolution of the legal issues.” He maintains, though, that David and his partners “intend to proceed with their service” and “reserve their right to restore full functionality to subscribers.” He adds that the defendants “are confident that the service is legal.”
PREVIOUS, 3:17 PM: The networks’ joint copyright infringement claim against digital entrepreneur Alki David’s provocative site is similar to the suit that Fox filed on Friday — also at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The action against BarryDriller Content Systems was made “to restrain defendants from exploiting without authorization, and violating plaintiffs’ rights in, some of the most valuable intellectual property created in the United States,” the networks say. They want unspecified damages as well as an injunction against BarryDriller.com, which beginning last week streamed the broadcasters’ over-the-air signals to subscribers in a few cities including Los Angeles and New York. David has claimed that BarryDriller is similar to Aereo, the Barry Diller-backed service that streams local broadcast signals to subscribers in New York. Both companies say that they are simply feeding consumers programming that they can already receive for free. (Broadcasters also are suing Aereo for copyright infringement.) Although David talked tough after the Fox suit, he said today that his company “is temporarily ceasing to retransmit the Network content” — he says because consumers would prefer to receive alternative programming such as Bikini TV. He adds: “We have better things to do than screw around with ageing, irrelevant, free to air TV that they can’t even give away. We will reconsider putting them back.” Last week David signed an agreement with the networks to pull the plug on a similar streaming site run by another company he runs, FilmOn, and to pay them $1.6M.