The broadcast networks aren’t the only ones suing Alki David over his BarryDriller.com, an online video service in competition with Aereo, Barry Diller’s service that streams broadcast TV networks’ signals (received over small, remote antennas) over the web to paying subscribers.
With Barrydriller.com, David claims to be following in the footsteps of Aereo, which is using a different technological approach and appears to be on sounder legal ground.
Now, Diller has filed a suit against BarryDriller.com and David for violating his publicity rights and implying a false endorsement, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Diller filed the lawsuit 8/21 in California federal court, saying David is using his name and personality to prop up a competitor.
Back on 8/10, it appeared this was coming: An Aereo spokeswoman told WSJ: “Neither Mr. David nor Filmon have any association with Aereo. It is unfortunate that they appear determined to try to trade on Aereo and its board members’ successes and reputation.”
“Seeking to unfairly capitalize on the success of the new business venture supported by Plaintiff, Defendants devised a scheme to launch what they characterize as a competing business called ‘BarryDriller.com,'” says the suit. “Defendants are using Plaintiff’s name in their ‘BarryDriller.com’ business to (1) associate their service with Plaintiff, and (2) mislead the public into believing that Defendants’ service has been judicially sanctioned.”
Diller goes on to allege that David’s company is designed to divert consumers from Aereo. Coincidentally, broadcasters are making the case that Aereo itself diverts consumers from cable and satellite services.
Besides publicity rights and the Lanham Act, Diller says that BarryDriller.com violates cybersquatting laws by using a “confusingly similar variant” of his name.
He’s seeking injunctive relief and punitive damages.
The site is currently charging $5.95 a month to watch several local New York channels, or $59.95 a year. David claims Barrydriller.com has more than 28,000 paying subscribers.