3 Count: FilmOn, FilmOut

FilmOn is FilmOver...

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1: Broadcasters Settle Copyright Dispute With FilmOn

First off today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that CBS, Fox and NBC have all settled their dispute with FilmOn, bringing an end to the long-running case just before an appellate court ruling.

FilmOn was a TV streaming service that captured over-the-air broadcast television and streamed it online. Somewhat similar to Aereo, which was famously ended after a Supreme Court decision against it, FilmOn relied on different legal arguments, namely that it was a cable system and deserved access to a compulsory license under the law. FilmOn won an early court decision but it was overturned on appeal.

But now FilmOn’s multi-state legal battle is over, with a settlement in hand only the Ninth Circuit ruling against the service stands. The precise terms of the settlement are confidential but it appears that FilmOn will not resume streaming over-the-air broadcast television any time soon.

2: Conan O’Brien to Face Joke-Theft Allegations in Court

Next up today, Sopan Deb at The New York Times reports that a judge has ruled that Conan O’Brien may have to face joke theft allegations in a court of law despite the fact such allegations rarely make it to a lawsuit at all.

The lawsuit was filed by comedian and blogger Alex Kaseberg who claimed that O’Brien, on his late-night TV show, lifted five monologue jokes from his blog. While the judge did dismiss two of the allegations, the other three are continuing toward a trial.

No trial date has been set at this time but Kaseberg’s lawyer called the decision “a victory for comedy writers, especially lesser-known writers.” (Hat Tip to Kathryn Goldman for this link!)

3: Sky TV seeks to split copyright case against TVNZ, Fairfax, Mediaworks and NZME

Finally today, Sam Hurley at The New Zealand Herald reports that Sky Television is hoping to split its lawsuit against major television networks in the country to streamline a determination of copyright infringement liability.

The lawsuit pits Sky against the other major TV providers in the country over the issue of clips Rugby and other sporting events. The networks make a habit of using such clips as part of their news but Sky believes showing such highlights without a license harms their ability to monetize their coverage.

Sky seeks to split the trial into two parts, separating liability and damages for expediency. Meanwhile, the defendants are wanting to analyze each clip separately for possible infringement, something Sky says would be burdensome.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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