FilmOn X didn’t gain any traction from Aereo‘s legal win in Massachusetts last week. In fact, today’s decision by a DC-based federal judge to deny the Alki David-run free-TV-over-the-Internet company a modification to the almost nationwide preliminary injunction ordered on September 5 might have landed FilmOn X in more legal hot water. “It appears that FilmOn X may be acting in defiance of this Court’s Preliminary Injunction, possibly by retransmitting Plaintiff’s copyrighted broadcast programming in the Boston area,” the 3-page ruling (read it here) from Judge Rosemary Collyer said, referring to her ruling last month in favor of Fox Broadcasting, ABC and NBC. The judge is giving FilmOn X 6 days to explain why she shouldn’t hold them in contempt of court.
The latest legal hand-slap comes after FilmOn X on October 10 petitioned the court to add Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine to the states not covered by the injunction. It cited the October 10 denial of an injunction sought by a Hearst-owned ABC affiliate against Aereo in Massachusetts as legal justification, but today the judge distinctly disagreed and told FilmOn X to check its facts and courts. “In fact, Hearst was decided by a district court, not by the First Circuit. A contrary decision by a co-equal court in another district involving different parties does not represent a change in controlling law,” noted Collyer. Today’s decision leaves New York, Connecticut and Vermont as the only states in which the much-sued FilmOn X can transmit material owned by the broadcasters. That’s because those 3 states fall under the geographical jurisdiction of the Second Circuit, which in July 2012 denied broadcasters’ desire for a preliminary injunction against Aereo.
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