(CN) – In a win for major TV networks, a federal judge in Manhattan temporarily blocked FilmOn.com from streaming live television shows on the Internet.
In their federal complaint, CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC and Disney said FilmOn.com “has been streaming over the Internet … numerous broadcast television stations and the copyrighted programming on those stations – all without the consent of the affected stations or copyright owners.”
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ordered FilmOn.com to explain why it shouldn’t be subject to a preliminary injunction. In the meantime, she blocked FilmOn.com from streaming copyrighted content on the Internet or to cell phones pending a full hearing on the order to show cause.
The date of the hearing has yet to be determined.
“We respect the court’s decision in this matter and have temporarily ceased the retransmission of free network television on FilmOn,” said company CEO Alki David.
FilmOn.com and a rival site, iviTV, insist that it’s legal to retransmit local broadcast signals without paying copyright fees, citing a copyright exemption for cable TV operators.
FilmOn said it would present expert testimony about its technology “in order to demonstrate that FilmOn is indeed a cable system.”
“If FilmOn successfully opposes the networks’ motion for a preliminary injunction, the court’s temporary restraining order … will be dissolved,” the company said in a statement.
The networks want the site shut down.