Broadcast networks have filed a lawsuit against Aereokiller in an effort to prevent the company from providing streaming video of broadcast programming in the Washington, D.C., market, Variety reports.
The move is “the latest effort to challenge the legality of a bevy of services seeking to provide over-the-air television on the Internet,” the story reports. “Fox, NBC, ABC and Allbritton Communications filed a claim in U.S. District Court in Washington against Aereokiller, the provocatively named company founded by FilmOn’s Alki David. The name comes from Aereo, the startup financed by Barry Diller that has so far prevailed in court against broadcasters’ efforts to halt its streaming service in the New York market.”
Aereo uses a system of dime-sized antennas to beam programming to subscribers, the piece notes.
Variety reports: “Aereokiller, too, uses tiny antennas, according to David, but it faced a different fate in the Los Angeles market. When the networks challenged the legality of Aereokiller in L.A., a federal court ruled in favor of the broadcasters, prohibiting the company from stealing their signals in the western states of the Ninth Circuit. That put the decision in conflict with that of the New York federal courts, raising the prospect that the case will eventually end up in the Supreme Court.”
With both Aereo and Aereokiller planning to expand their services, broadcasters are eager to halt those plans.
In a joint statement, the broadcasters said: “Our complaint filed today in the federal district court for the District of Columbia underscores our commitment to vigorously protect our copyrighted programming from illegal appropriation by opportunistic pirates.”
Variety adds: “Having expanded into Dallas, Miami and other cities as well, David has insisted that Aereokiller’s streaming is legal, and is appealing in the Ninth Circuit in California.”