Huge Federal Court Victory for Online TV Streaming
With the ever changing nature of the entertainment industry, conflicts in the application of static laws and regulations abound.
Cable broadcast companies sued for an injunction against TV streamer FilmOn for redistributing broadcasters’ copyrighted programming. Federal judge George W. Wu ruled that, regardless of precedent, according to statute 111 of the Copyright Act there is no expressed distinction between cable broadcast and internet broadcast in the statute’s permission for compulsory licensing. The judge acknowledged the ground-shaking nature of the ruling and its potential effects on the television industry, and therefore immediately authorized the case for appeal in the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Broadcast companies such as Fox confirmed their intent to appeal and remain confident that the ruling will be overturned.
If the ruling is upheld, online TV streamers will be entitled to the same rights as cable companies, and will obtain compulsory licensing so long as they pay royalties. Cable companies will also have to compete with the much lower prices of online competitors.
The future of television programming and our modern notions of broadcasting hangs in the balance of the coming appellate battle.