Streaming Service Blames CBS After Being Cited for Contempt of Court

Sep 11, 2013  •  Post A Comment

In an ongoing legal battle over a streaming website that has been compared to the higher-profile Aereo case, an attorney for FilmOn and its CEO, Alki David, is pointing the finger at CBS after David and the company were hit with a contempt of court order, Deadline.com reports.

As we reported last week, FilmOn, or FilmOnX, was dealt a setback last week when a judge sided with broadcasters in their dispute with the site, issuing a temporary injunction ordering the site to shut down across much of the country.

In a subsequent development Tuesday, Deadline reports, "a NYC-based judge agreed with a July 29 request from CBS and ordered that David’s free-TV-over-the-Internet service pay up what it still owes on a $1.6 million copyright infringement and injunction settlement reached last July. As well, the judge ordered that David and FilmOn cease violating portions of that agreement. Additionally, with no third party evidence produced to confirm that he has the rights to the material, David is to halt FilmOn’s VOD service."

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald also wrote that she found “FilmOn and David in contempt for violating the Stipulated Consent Judgment and Permanent Injunction," the story reports.

Responding to that contempt finding, a lawyer for FilmOn, Ryan Baker, provided a statement pointing the finger at CBS.

Dominic Patten reported Tuesday on Deadline: "Today’s contempt of court order against streaming service FilmOn and its CEO Alki David was based on missing information, claims the company’s lawyer Ryan Baker. In a statement sent to me this evening, Baker says CBS’ legal reps were given the VOD licensing agreement requested by the federal court but that document was not passed on to the judge."

The statement from Baker says in part: "The court’s ruling holding FilmOn and Mr. David in contempt is based on the contention that they failed to produce licensing agreements to plaintiffs on or before August 21, 2013, pursuant to the court’s order. But a licensing agreement was produced by me on August 20, 2013. I emailed that agreement to counsel for CBS, who confirmed receipt. I requested in the accompanying email that counsel for CBS contact me to discuss that agreement. I was not contacted in response to that request. Counsel for CBS failed to notify the court of the document it obtained."

Baker adds that FilmOn and David have acted in good faith in the case, and are "evaluating their next move."

The judge wrote in the Tuesday ruling: “FilmOn and David are hereby ordered to forthwith deliver to plaintiffs’ counsel the sum of $1,350,000, plus interest at the statutory rate, the costs of collection, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.”

Patten adds in his Deadline report: "David said in early August 2012 that CBS ‘renegged’ on the agreement by releasing it in a way designed to embarrass him. Not according to Buchwald. The judge also ruled that the company and the billionaire digital media entrepreneur had to take down, as agreed in the July 2012 settlement, sites like www.cbsyousuck.com and remove other online material slagging and attacking the broadcaster. Sure thing your Honor, but the parties in this case being who they are, expect more twists and legal turns before the dust settles on this one."

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