For the first time, a court has ruled that a streaming video service should be treated like a cable service.
Judge George Wu of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles set the precedent today in the case of online video service FilmOn X. Fox, ABC, CBS, NBCUniversal, and several other parties all filed a suit against FilmOnX in 2012 in an attempt to shut it down. Today’s ruling is an unexpected victory for television viewers, and vindication for Aereo.
The little-known video service operates on a similar business model to Aereo before that company’s service was essentially litigated out of existence. FilmOn boasts “Live TV from over 200 LIVE TV Channels for free in SD Watch on Apps or the Web for free over 500 VOD Channels!” (sic) on their website.
In his ruling, Wu admitted that his preliminary decision was in direct conflict with the 2nd Circuit Court , which ruled on Aereo. If upheld, Wu’s decision could give new life to companies seeking to air television over the Internet legally.