ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox got a step closer today to shutting down Alki David’s online streaming of their shows. Judge George Wu granted the networks their mutually desired tentative preliminary injunction against the digital entrepreneur’s Aereokiller service this afternoon, Deadline has learned. While that doesn’t mean Aereokiller is shut down as of right now, it does means it could be in select areas with the federal judge’s final ruling, which is expected next week.
In response to legal actions by the networks David’s lawyers have argued that the Aereokiller service is not a violation of the Copyright Act. They say that it simply gives consumers the convenient right to privately view TV shows online. Judge Wu said today that the court “would find that defendants’ transmissions are public performances, and therefore infringe plaintiffs’ exclusive right of public performance.” However, Judge Wu’s ruling, tentative and final, could have a limited reach if other federal benches in other jurisdictions are engaged in the case – a fact the judge acknowledged today in court. David launched Aereokiller through his Barry Driller Inc. company immediately after he signed an agreement to pull the plug on a streaming service by his company, FilmOn, and to pay the major broadcasters $1.6 million. Though FilmOn is now back up and streaming television. David’s Aereokiller has nothing to do with Aereo, a streaming service backed by mogul Barry Diller and facing legal challenges of its own. Alki David is represented by Ryan Baker and Jamie Marquart of LA firm Baker Marquart.