Judge Places XonDemand.com Operator in Default

LOS ANGELES — XonDemand.com didn't arrange replacement counsel for a hearing set on Monday and was placed in position for a default judgment by a federal judge.

Private Media Group, which waged a copyright infringement suit against the video-on-demand site, was ordered to file a motion for entry of judgment — up to $4.5 million — by Oct. 11, an official told XBIZ late Monday.

Industry attorney Clyde DeWitt, who originally was hired to defend XonDemand after Private sued it for allegedly streaming content for more than three years after a 50 percent revenue-sharing contract was terminated in 2007, had asked a federal judge to withdraw from the case.

The judge granted his request on Monday.

DeWitt, in several motions to a federal court, said that he's had difficulties with his client, XonDemand, because the company has only paid a fraction of its attorneys fees and that he's been having difficulty communicating with the company.

Private spokesman Jason Tucker earlier told XBIZ that a settlement deal was in the works to transfer XonDemand.com to Private.

"It was as simple as that," Tucker said. "We said, look, we've got the Gamelink site, and we'd be willing to drop the copyright infringement charge and take over [XonDemand]. The settlement agreement was all there, but we never got the signature. We haven't heard from XonDemand since."

In the suit, Barcelona-based Private  said it discovered  that XonDemand was "committing over 30 separate instances of copyright infringement and over 1,000 separate and distinct instances of trademark infringement" by continuing to rent Private videos by the minute or flat rate after a deal between the two companies was terminated.

XonDemand contended it never received a termination letter, all the while paying commissions to Private, and that it removed content "immediately after someone at XonDemand learned of this lawsuit."