MANHATTAN (CN) – The Second Circuit upheld sanctions and a contempt order against FilmOn.com and its CEO today for making movies and television available to stream, in violation of a federal injunction.
Launched around the same time as competing service Aereo, the Alki David-run FilmOn drew praise from public-access advocates and copyright objections from TV networks and production studios.
FilmOn settled with the networks in the face of injunctions across the nation, but continued making copyrighted broadcasts available to subscribers through a sister company called FilmOn X that that deployed a new Teleporter technology.
The system involved remote-storage DVR technology that transmitted television content over the Internet at essentially the same time that the content was being broadcast.
Though Aereo stopped using its technology within days of a June 2014 U.S. Supreme Court defeat , FilmOn and David earned sanctions in New York for continuing to operate its Teleporter system until July 7. The sanctions amounted to $90,000.
The Second Circuit affirmed the attorneys’ fees, contempt order and sanctions Tuesday, calling the fine “a relatively minor amount” and adequate reprisal for the continuing violations.
“Considering FilmOn’s history of misreading changes in federal copyright law and being held in contempt for violating multiple federal injunctions … a response by FilmOn to the Aereo III decision that diligently attempted to comply with the injunction should have included proceeding with caution,” Judge Peter Hall wrote for a three-person panel.
If FilmOn had any confusion about how Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling affected the injunction against it, the company could and should have petitioned the federal court for a clarification, according to the ruling.
FilmOn’s billionaire owner is no stranger to the courts.
In Florida last month, an appeals court threw out a cyberstalking injunction David faced from an entertainment executive whom David had compared to Hitler on Instagram.
A former television host on a David-owned chat show meanwhile filed suit in 2014, claiming he was sacked after an on-air stunt went awry.
That same year FilmOn sued online ad tracker DoubleVerify for defamation after it categorized FilmOn in its “Copyright Infringement-File Sharing’ and ‘Adult Content’ categories.”
Barry Diller-backed Aereo filed for bankruptcy in November 2014.
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