US networks try to ban FilmOn

Four top US TV networks have asked a federal court to stop the Internet video service FilmOn.com from offering TV channels over the web and on Apple’s iPad for free.

FilmOn.com was launched in September by British entrepreneur Alki David. The network’s suit comes as start-ups have sought to bypass traditional media companies by offering programming to Internet users without paying fees to free-to-air channels. In September the networks sued ivi, a service that offers TV channels over the Web. Some TV networks have also blocked videos on their websites from Google Inc’s Google TV.

FilmOn, a Berlin-listed company, initially charged users $9.95 per month, to access “over 30 premium free-to-air television channels.” But it began offering the service for free after the networks sued FilmOn days after its launch.

“It’s against the law to steal a broadcast signal and stream it to wireless devices and over the Internet, without the copyright owner’s permission,” the networks said in a joint statement. “FilmOn.com is the latest in a short line of companies that has robbed our broadcast signals and distributed them illegally for their own commercial gain.”

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