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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a district court that had found that FilmOn (formerly known as “Aereokiller”), an online video service, can use the same copyright compulsory licenses as traditional cable TV services. Public Knowledge supported FilmOn's legal position in this case and is disappointed by the outcome.
The following statement can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“A legal result where online video services have the same copyright liabilities as traditional cable services (following the Supreme Court's Aereo decision), but not the same copyright benefits (the compulsory license), is not a good result for consumers or competition.
“Traditional pay TV services already have many advantages over online video services. They are dominant buyers of programming that can use their influence to keep content away from competitors, and they are often integrated with the same broadband access networks that online video services themselves need access to if they are to reach viewers. Adding legal barriers to those existing advantages benefits incumbents at the expense of consumers and potential new entrants.
“We hope that FilmOn prevails in its related litigation in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, where Public Knowledge also filed an amicus brief. More broadly, it's long overdue for Congress to revisit the outdated and overly complex retransmission consent/compulsory license system that makes new entry into the video marketplace overly burdensome.”
You may view the decision here.