A US Federal Court judge has ruled that the FilmOn streaming service is entitled to a so-called ‘compulsory licence’ that would force broadcasters to sell their programming at a discounted rate.
The ruling by District Court Judge George Wu would require the controversial platform to be treated as if it were a cable service. This a repeat of the Aereo argument almost 12 months to the day.
Aereo streamed its service to a string of micro antennas leased to its subscribers. It failed to convince a court that it should be given similar treatment to that now afforded to FilmOn and was forced to declare bankruptcy.
Judge Wu immediately gave leave to appeal and left the preliminary injunction held by broadcasters against FilmOn in place until the appeal could be decided.
Broadcasters, including the four major networks, had sued FilmOn for copyright infringement.