Aereo wins a victory in Boston, is sued in Utah
Michelle Clancy | 11-10-2013
Barry Diller-backed over-the-top (OTT) video provider Aereo is facing a fresh legal challenge in Utah, over copyright infringement allegations. However, it has also won a partial victory in Boston on the same issue.
Ever since it launched its $8 per month streaming service that provides local broadcast feeds over the Internet, Aereo has faced lawsuits from broadcasters because it hasn't paid retransmission fees. But Aereo provides tiny antennae to its subscribers, and as such, claims to be a legal over-the-air service.
In New York, a panel of judges for the 2nd Circuit have agreed, ruling that Aereo did not violate copyright law. And now, in Boston, Federal Judge Nathaniel M Gorton has denied a motion for a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by Hearst Stations on behalf of its local TV station, WCVB-TV.
In his decision, Judge Gorton concluded: "After considering the relevant factors, the court finds that a preliminary injunction is unwarranted. Hearst has not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits nor the requisite irreparable harm and therefore it is not entitled to that 'extraordinary and drastic remedy.'"
He added: "Hearst fails to make a sufficient showing that it is likely to prevail on any of [its] claims and therefore this factor weighs against a preliminary injunction in its favour."
In Utah, Fox Broadcasting Co, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Local TV have filed suit in federal court in Utah against Aereo in US District Court. The plaintiffs said that "no amount of technological gimmickry by Aereo changes the fundamental principle of law that those who wish to retransmit copyrighted broadcasts may do so only with the copyright owners' authority".
Aereo begs to differ. "All this meritless suit amounts to is forum shopping and we are hopeful that any such efforts to commence duplicative lawsuits to try to seek a different outcome will be rejected by the courts," said Aereo spokeswoman Virginia Lam, in a statement.