Fox sues Alki David’s BarryDriller.com
August 13, 2012
By Colin Mann
Fox has filed a complaint in the California Central District Court against Alki David-backed Internet TV streaming service BarryDriller.com, alleging that the defendant, BarryDriller Content Systems, has infringed on Fox’s copyrights and trademarks by retransmitting its broadcast shows without the company’s permission. It wants the court to enjoin the BarryDriller service and require it to pay unspecified damages.
David contends the service is merely offering programming that broadcasters already make available for free. Fox argues that “No amount of technological gimmickry by Defendants changes the fundamental principle of copyright law that those who wish to retransmit Plaintiffs’ broadcasts may do so only with Plaintiffs’ authority.”
“The Networks should be loving us, not hating us,” David told advanced-television.com. “Whether they like it or not. Free TV is meant to be free. Barry Driller/FilmOn is constitutionally entitled to distribute the Free to Air channels,” he stated, suggesting that his service, rather than New York-based Aereo – also the subject of copyright complaints from Fox and other studios – should be taking it to the Networks.
David is forthright in his argument. “Little antennas are nonsense. The whole Aereo argument is ridiculous. It is pathetic that we should stoop to loopholes and inefficient technology to get broadcast TV online. Television is for the people. What really benefits the consumer? Access… when we want it and how we want it,” he declared.
“FilmOn/BarryDriller wants to pay the Networks. We never got our day in court to demonstrate why we should fall under section 111 of the copyright act. FilmOn has cables and their number are growing. We have subscribers, they are definitely growing. Bring it on Fox, you have no idea what you have just done,” he challenged.
Playfully choosing the name Aereokiller LLC for the corporation offering the service, David said it has been carefully designed to take advantage of the logic of the recent court ruling in the Aereo litigation which found against the broadcasters who wanted to close the Barry Diller-backed service down.
David said that Aereokiller is determined to grow its service, and it is currently willing to share its user statistics and analytics with any of the networks which wants to work with it. He would also prefer for Aereokiller to enter into retransmission agreements with one or more broadcast networks, under which it would promptly pay each network a per subscriber fee similar to those paid by multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).
However, Aereokiller would prefer to enter into such deals on an individual basis, not collectively. Depending on consumer choice, how quickly the service gains popularity and other factors, Aereokiller may decide to make only one or possibly two of the broadcast networks available to subscribers.
Barry Driller is geoblocked in four major markets – New York, LA, Chicago and Minneapolis – and is set to open in San Francisco and Dallas within the next two weeks. “Then on to Boston with another prime TV Channel, followed by Chicago and New York. By the end of the year I expect we will also be on Dish and DirecTV,” revealed David.