Utah federal court imposes preliminary injunction on Aereo's operations

By on February 20, 2014, 1:30 PM
copyright infringement, aereo, utah, broadcasters

After a series of legal victories over the broadcasting industry, Aereo's free run has finally come to an end. According to an LATimes report, an Utah federal court on Wednesday has imposed a preliminary injunction on the company’s operations, as sought by Fox Broadcasting Co. and other TV station owners, due to copyright issues. This essentially means that Aereo will have to shut down its Utah and Colorado operations.

Launched in 2012, Aereo is a startup company backed by billionaire Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp. The company provides online television services by retransmitting broadcast television signals to consumers via the Internet. While the company charges a low monthly fee from its users, it does not pay broadcasters.

While broadcasters argue that the startup violates the Copyright Act’s transmit clause, which spells out when a performance should be considered “public”, Aereo says its service is a private performance, as each user is assigned to a tiny remote antenna.

More recently, a federal appeals court in New York last year sided with Aereo in a similar lawsuit. The Utah ruling is important not only because it is the first time a court has sided with broadcasters in their fight against Aereo, but also because it comes just a couple of months before the Supreme court is scheduled to hear broadcast networks’ case against the startup.

"This is a significant win for both broadcasters and content owners," a Fox spokesman said in a statement. While on the other hand, Chet Kanojia, founder of Aereo, said the company is "extremely disappointed that the District Court in Utah has chosen to take a different path than every other court that has reviewed the Aereo technology."




User Comments: 4

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1 person liked this | Jim$ter said:

Its the same content people could receive with an outside antenna. Only thing they might be mad about is the DVR. Well sorry to say DVR's are the future. They are more than likely mad they aren't getting a cut of the profits. Its not their technology but they don't see it that way. Greedy Corps!!

tonylukac said:

Technically the cable companies don't pay for their content either. They intercept the broadcaster's commercials and show their own, net payment zero.

Guest said:

The mistake this company made was offering the service itself. All they had to do was offer the tools to do so (such as a device that can transmit any video signal to your Ethernet/wifi network) and everything would have been fine. They would have made money on the hardware itself and not be liable for what the end user uses it for. Even if the intent is obvious.

lipe123 said:

The mistake this company made was offering the service itself. All they had to do was offer the tools to do so (such as a device that can transmit any video signal to your Ethernet/wifi network) and everything would have been fine. They would have made money on the hardware itself and not be liable for what the end user uses it for. Even if the intent is obvious.

They don't transmit anything the antennae is a loophole. Those antennae grids they set up don't actually communicate with anything they are making use of a similar service as netflix for example.

Their argument is that users could possibly get the info from regular antenna transmission so might as well send it via the internet instead,

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