Ivi, a US Internet Company that is offering Australians the opportunity to sign up for access to first run TV shows for $5.95 a month, as they go to air in the US, is facing a court injunction after a US federal court this week issued a temporary restraining order shutting down FilmOn.com a competitor who runs a similar streaming service to Ivi.
In the US the four major free to air broadcast networks ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC sued FilmOn.com for copyright infringement, arguing the service was making unauthorised online retransmissions of their broadcasts.
In Australia the Nine, Seven, Ten and the ABC TV networks have told ChannelNews that they are concerned over the actions of Ivi in offering a service into Australia but said that the problems lie with the US Networks who are now taking action.
The court-ordered shutdown of FilmOn does not look good for Ivi, who was recently sued for copyright infringement by the broadcast networks and is set to face a US Court.
“We respect the Court’s decision in this matter and have temporarily ceased retransmission of free network television on FilmOn,” the company said in a statement, adding that 30 million users had used its service in the few weeks that it was available.
FilmOn legal counsel Scott Zarin said that the court “is providing FilmOn with an opportunity to elaborate upon its ‘cable system’ argument more thoroughly in a hearing on the Networks’ request for a preliminary injunction,” referring to the company’s argument that it is exempt from copyright infringement liability because it should be considered a cable system.
“We do expect to bring the major networks back to our lineup in the near future, all in a legitimate and collaborative business model,” FilmOn’s statement continues.
“We have already begun very positive discussions with TV networks affiliates and other content owners to provide our delivery service and measurement analytics to stream their live content online.”