By John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable Online, 3-21-17

In a victory for broadcasters, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reversed a lower court decision that FilmOn X was eligible for the same compulsory license to TV programming as cable operators have.

In the decision, released Tuesday, the appeals court held that “a service that captures copyrighted works broadcast over the air, and then retransmits them to paying subscribers over the Internet without the consent of the copyright holders, is not a ‘cable system’ eligible for a compulsory license under the Copyright Act.”

Broadcasters led by Fox had challenged the lower court ruling.

That came only days after FilmOn X argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that another lower court decision denying them the license should be overturned.

The Ninth Circuit essentially deferred to the Copyright Office’s conclusion that internet-based retransmission services are not eligible for the blanket license, indicating the status of FilmOn X’s eligibility was hardly cut-and-dried.  » Read More