Some hostile, accusatory, and cryptic messages were sent Sunday afternoon from the Twitter account of Alki David, the billionaire owner of FilmOn web TV service. The tweets were directed at Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, and early Monday morning David confirmed by email that he was the one who sent them.
At 1:49 p.m., a message from David's account said: "@ckanojia - hey fuckhead, if you keep ddosing FilmOn you are going to pay in more ways than you can imagine." A second message from David's account followed a few minutes later. "What you are doing is like breaking into someone's home and smashing their shit up," the tweet said. "Fortunately [you] lame fuck, my geeks are smarter."
"What you are doing is like breaking into someone's home."
In a response to an interview request made by The Verge, David made it clear that he believes Kanojia was responsible for a recent Denial of Service attack that was launched against FilmOn's website. "Yes. FIlmOn has been under attack for the past two weeks from a ddos at times over 30 Gig per second," David wrote. "We have information which leads us to believe that it is sponsored by Kanojia. The attacks continue and at great expense we have had to build a huge layered firewall. Makes me really mad."
An Aereo spokeswoman declined to comment. David is no stranger to controversy or to engaging in bitter public feuds with competitors. David, an heir to a bottling and shipping fortune, once offered to pay $1 million to anyone willing to streak naked in front of President Barack Obama. He accused CBS of committing copyright violations through its CNET Download.com property and then created a website called cbsyousuck.com. FilmOn's original name was Aereokiller, but Aereo sued and FilmOn changed it.
"We have had to build a huge layered firewall." The acrimony comes at a time when legal analysts were expecting an alliance between FilmOn and Aereo, since they face a common foe. The country's top broadcasting companies have filed multiple copyright lawsuits against each company in different courts around the country. Aereo, the better known of the two companies, and FilmOn are said to use similar technology to capture over-the-air TV broadcasts and distribute live programming to customers through the web. Neither company licenses the shows it helps to distribute. The broadcasters have won two favorable court outcomes against FilmOn, and Aereo has prevailed against TV programmers in two court judgments. Legal experts say that the decisions against FilmOn are creating legal precedents that could lead to the shut down of not just that company, but also of Aereo. So, maybe it's not true that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Update: David confirmed that he was the one who sent the tweets.