Yesterday, Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus brief in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that online cable services like FilmOn qualify for the same statutory copyright licenses as traditional cable systems. This license allows qualifying services to carry broadcast programming, provided they are otherwise complying with Federal Communications Commission rules. Public Knowledge rejects the idea that traditional pay-TV should receive special treatment denied to online video services.
The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
“Online video services should not operate at a legal disadvantage compared to their traditional pay-TV rivals.
“Allowing online systems to benefit from the same copyright licenses as cable systems will increase consumer choice, provide more outlets for programmers, and allow different video systems to compete on their merits, rather than through legal technicalities.
“Nothing in the text or purpose of the copyright act supports a view that grants certain copyright licenses to traditional cable systems, but not to their online competitors. Unfortunately, some courts and the Copyright Office have adopted a more cable monopoly-friendly view. But as our brief shows, the law supports consumer choice, not competitive stagnation.”
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