One of these days, FilmOn is going to win a case in court, but it probably won’t be today. Washington DC District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer slapped down FilmOn’s request to be allowed to stream over-the-air TV in Boston. Her earlier ruling that bans FilmOn from carrying OTA TV without permission still applies everywhere but in the New York-based Second District.
This chapter of the FilmOn saga began last Thursday, Oct. 10, when Boston District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton denied broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction against Aereo, allowing it to continue to stream OTA TV in Boston. Within hours, FilmOn founder Alki David announced that he would “defy” Collyer’s earlier injunction and begin streaming major network stations from Boston.
Yesterday, FilmOn officially requested that Collyer revise her order to reflect the Boston court’s finding. Tim Bukher at LawTechie.com saw this as a slam dunk. “It is fairly likely that Washington will accede to FilmOn’s request. If it does not, FilmOn could just sue for declaratory judgment in Massachusetts nullifying Washington’s injunction within its borders,” Bukher wrote.
Instead, Collyer responded today with what I would consider a worst-case scenario. Not only did she refuse to modify her order, Collyer also asked FilmOn why she should not hold it in contempt for streaming Boston TV stations before her ruling. According to Multichannel News’ John Eggerton, “FilmOn countered that was only an antenna test.”
As of this writing, the Big Four network stations in Boston are no longer available on FilmOn, but it’s still carrying Boston’s PBS, CW, and ion affiliates. (Probably still testing those antennas.) And as of now, FilmOn is still looking for a US court that will give it a win.