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Fox Files Suit Against TV Streaming Service in Los Angeles

13 Aug, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Twentieth Century Fox Studios and Fox Television have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a Los Angeles-based service that streams broadcast TV to portable media devices in Los Angeles area.

The suit — filed Aug. 10 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles — alleges that the service, BarryDriller.com, illegally streams over-the-air broadcast transmissions of “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons,” “Raising Hope” and “Glee,” among others, via the Internet without consent or license agreement.

BarryDriller.com, which launched its $5.95 monthly service in Los Angeles Aug. 7, is a play on Barry Diller, the entertainment executive who bowed a similar service, Aereo, which streams live broadcast TV to the Apple iPad and other devices via dime-size mini antennae in New York.

Aereo is also the subject of separate copyright infringement suits filed against it by media companies. Meanwhile, NBC, CBS and ABC Aug. 13 collectively filed a suit against BarryDriller.com.

Fox, in its suit, said copyright law does not allow BarryDriller.com or other services to retransmit its TV programming over the Internet without license.

“No amount of technical gimmickry … changes the fundamental principle of copyright law that those who wish to retransmit [Fox’s] broadcasts may do so only with [Fox’s] authority,” said Fox in the complaint.

The studio, which includes 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, said BarryDriller.com is attempting to take advantage of its proprietary creative and technological infrastructure. 

“Defendants are willfully, wantonly and unfairly exploiting [Fox’s] programming and broadcasts for their own commercial benefit,” the complaint reads.

Fox seeks a jury trial and undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages.

BarryDriller.com founder Alki David, a technology entrepreneur who founded streaming service FilmOn.com until it was shuttered following copyright litigation from major studios, reportedly has agreed to cease retransmitting Fox broadcast signals until the dispute is resolved.

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