Fox is taking legal aim at another TV streaming service.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Friday and obtained by THR, the network claims that a startup called BarryDriller (Barrydriller.com) violates its copyrights and trademarks by streaming its LA station KTTV's signal without permission.
The site is run by eccentric provocateur Alki David and its name is most likely a reference to Aereo, the TV streaming service whose backers include media mogul Barry Diller. Fox and other networks have sued Aereo under similar legal theories, claiming that digital startups should not be allowed to stream TV signals to subscribers without permission from stations and content owners. A New York judge last month declined to immediately shut down Aereo but the networks continue to pursue the case on the theory that Aereo on other similar services violate public performance rights and would cripple their business.
David now appears to be jumping on the Aereo bandwagon with the Aug. 7 launch of the new service, which uses antennae to beam free TV signals to subscribers for $5.95 per month. We've written about David's antics before. His previous company, FilmOn, was sued by Fox and shut down. He recently reached a settlement whereby David agreed to pay broadcasters $1.6 million and to end the suit but he vowed to continue on with a new service. BarryDriller appears to be that service. In contrast to Aereo, David has said he would pay retransmission fees to broadcasters, but the networks don't believe the service is legal.
"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 complaint argues.
As we noted earlier this month, David also is making another interesting move. He is planning a new TV channel that won't be streamed but will be carried over the air through cable and satellite providers. He says he's reached a deal with KHIZ (channel 64) in Los Angeles and that the channel also will be carried locally by Time Warner, Dish and DirecTV. He says it will be available throughout the U.S. by the end of the year.
The Fox suit for injunctive relief was filed by Richard Stone and a team from Jenner and Block.
- Alki David