Yesterday, Public Knowledge, joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and with the help of the Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic at Stanford Law School, filed an amicus brief in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that the online cable service FilmOn qualifies for the cable statutory license. This license allows qualifying services to carry broadcast programming, provided they are otherwise complying with FCC rules. Public Knowledge rejects the idea that traditional pay TV should receive special treatment denied to online video services.
The following statement can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“The law should not give traditional pay TV services legal advantages that are not available to their online competitors. FilmOn meets the definition of a 'cable' service under copyright law, and it wants to be treated like one. So it should be.
“Services like FilmOn can benefit consumers by creating more competition in TV distribution, while creating new opportunities for programmers to reach viewers. The law should not disadvantage them.
“Just as Public Knowledge has argued that the FCC ought to treat online pay TV services that offer linear programming the same as traditional cable and satellite TV providers, copyright law ought not to discriminate against online pay TV services.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.