ABC, NBC and Fox today filed a lawsuit against digital entrepreneur Alki David‘s FilmOn and his Aereokiller service, claiming copyright infringement. Allbritton, which owns ABC’s TV station Washington DC also is a plaintiff in the suit. Filed in Federal District Court in D.C. on David’s 45th birthday, the complaint (read it here) is similar to one filed in Los Angeles in August by ABC, NBC and CBS against his streaming site that then was known as BarryDriller.com. It, in turn, hewed closely to a suit filed against the site by Fox days earlier. (David this week finally settled his name-game tussle with Barry Diller and the latter’s Aereo service.)
David is a media industry provocateur whose FilmOn streams programming taken from over-the-air signals, and it — like Diller’s Aereo — has incurred the wrath of broadcasters. In today’s suit, the networks and Allbritton claim that “Aereokiller provides users and subscribers the ability to receive whichever broadcast station the user or subscriber chooses, ultimately having the ability to watch live broadcast television programming over the Internet using any device. In other words, through the Aereokiller service, Defendants built a business founded on offering its users and subscribers a ‘live’ Internet and mobile streaming service based on Plaintiffs’ television programming, but without authorization or license from Plaintiffs.”“Our complaint filed today underscores our commitment to vigorously protect our copyrighted programming from illegal appropriation by opportunistic pirates,” the plaintiffs said in a statememt. “A court in California has already enjoined Aereokiller from operating in nine western states, in the process recognizing that the commercial retransmission of our broadcasts without permission or compensation is a clear violation of the law and congressional intent. We believe that the DC court will uphold our copyright interests and further restrict Aereokiller’s operations.”
Paul Smith of Jenner & Block is Fox’s attorney, and Robert Garrett, Hadrian Katz, Christopher Morrow and Murad Hussain of Arnold & Porter represent NBC, ABC and Allbritton.