FilmOn Networks fought back in New York federal court this week against CBS and the other networks over their request for attorney fees in the copyright suit in which regular network ally Judge Naomi Buchwald found the internet TV provider in “contempt.”
Attorney Ryan Baker of Baker Marquart LLP argued that the networks failed to meet with FilmOn Networks before seeking a contempt order and therefore should not be eligible to recoup its fees.
As Allissa Wickham reported on Law360: “In a counterproposal to the networks’ suggested judgment, in which they seek $101,850 in attorneys’ fees and $90,000 in court-approved sanctions, FilmOn claimed that broadcasters could have avoided the contempt dispute that provoked the fee award if they’d simply met with the company first.”
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FilmOn argued: “Plaintiffs could have avoided incurring any of its attorney’s fees had it merely chosen to meet and confer with FilmOn about its intended motion. Plaintiffs chose not to. As such, no attorneys’ fees should be awarded.”
FilmOn pointed out that it had removed all of the networks’ content from its service on the same day it learned the broadcasters believed the service violated the injunction, and therefore should not be held in contempt. (also FilmOn pointed out that the injunction didn’t specifically bar mini-antenna technology or its Teleporter service.)
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s finding that streaming service Aereo Inc was illegal, both Aereo and FilmOn applied to the U.S. Copyright Office for compulsory license under Section 111 of the Copyright Act. Both have recieved letters from the Copyright Office saying that despite the Supreme Court’s opinion that the services are indistinguishable from cable companies and should be treated as such, the Office does not believe they meet the Office’s current out-of-date guidelines. Nonetheless the Copyright Office accepted the filings from Aereo and FilmOn on a provisional basis.
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FilmOn also argued that the amount of attorneys’ fees is excessive, billed at inflated rates and, “riddled with unnecessary of duplicative tasks.” The company also fought against a request for $50,000 in “future violations.”
Meanwhile, FilmOn fights on in other venues too. In July it pressed its case against WTTW, the Chicago outlet for PBS (Read more about that case here.)
As Samantha Bookman of FierceOnlineVideo.com put it: “FilmOn’s continuing slog forward inspires some grudging admiration…[Alki David is] continuing to pose a nagging question to regulators and courts: Are current laws giving new technologies a fair chance to develop and compete?”
FilmOn.com has over 40 million unique monthly users world wide who watch its 600 licensed and proprietary channels along with tens of thousands of VoDs. The free service is still in operation and adding new content, while Aereo sits unable to do business.
TV Mix is owned by FilmOn Networks. Find out more about FilmOn here.
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