In a remarkable press release, FilmOn and its owner, Alki David, announced that the service now streams affiliates of the four major broadcast networks to seven markets. After suspending its major network feeds from Los Angeles and San Francisco (more on that in a moment), FilmOn offers the big four in New York, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Washington, and Denver, and says it will add nine other cities in the next two weeks.
Way down in the 12th paragraph of the release, it finally mentions what the release’s headline screams, that David is suing Aereo for trademark infringement, saying that it’s too close to FilmOn’s over-the-air computer plugin, called the Aero. Now that’s burying the lede!
You really need to check out this rambling, oddly punctuated release. Here’s one paragraph, copied and pasted verbatim:
Personally I blame the lawyers said Mr. David. If it were not for their insatiable desire to create billable controversy we would not be in the situation where I have to spend my time and resources to punish them.
And it wraps up with a quoted assertion that “FilmOn.com has more content than Aero(sic) and Netflix combined”. Sure.
For a more impartial view of these events, check out Eriq Gardner’s story in today’s The Hollywood Reporter. According to Gardner, “The lawsuit represents a specialty of the eccentric David: revenge litigation. After he was sued by the broadcasters, for instance, he turned around and filed a lawsuit against CBS for facilitating piracy.” Gardner also notes that FilmOn lost an injunction, but it’s effective only in the area served by the Ninth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals. Which is why those California stations aren’t streaming.
Personally, my FilmOn subscription expires this month, and I probably won’t renew it. I’ll write more about why, including FilmOn’s recent content changes, tomorrow.