US federal court suspends Aereo internet TV service in several states

“A federal court in Utah placed an injunction on Aereo Inc. covering states in the U.S. Tenth Circuit, giving television broadcasters their first legal victory over the online video service as the Supreme Court prepares to take up the matter in April,” Amol Sharma reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Judge Dale A. Kimball said Aereo, which streams TV signals over the Web for a monthly fee without TV stations’ permission, is violating the copyrights of broadcasters, the plaintiffs in the case,” Sharma reports. “The injunction bars Aereo from operating in states including Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho. Aereo already offers services in Salt Lake City and Denver and will have to shut down those operations.”

“The judge said Aereo has the same responsibility to license programming as cable operators that pay billions of dollars a year to carry local TV stations. ‘Aereo’s retransmission of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted programs is indistinguishable from a cable company,’ the order said,” Sharma reports. “Aereo says its service is legal because it only facilitates consumers’ legal right to receive over-the-air TV stations free of charge. In a statement, Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s founder and chief executive, said the company is disappointed the Utah court took a ‘different path’ from other courts that have sided with Aereo… The company’s technology assigns tiny antennas at its facilities to each of its users, who rent them to stream local TV stations like Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC. Users can also record telecasts. The company argues that its setup provides the same functions as a home antenna and a DVR — and is therefore legal.”

Sharma reports, “The issue will likely be settled at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to take up broadcasters’ appeal of a ruling last year by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
TV broadcasters ask U.S. Supreme Court to review dispute of iPad TV streamer Aereo – October 14, 2013
By putting over-the-air online legally, Aereo clears the way for all TV everywhere – April 10, 2013
Apple is a winner in the Aereo online TV ruling, for now – July 12, 2012

15 Comments

    1. It never had a chance and was based on a childish business model.

      It would be like me printing out thousands of John Grisham novels and telling the publisher “I only sold paper and ink”.

      1. It’s more like asking someone to drive to the library and check out a book for you. It’s legal to check out that book, you could have driven there yourself.

        I can record a show that is broadcast over the air. Why should it be illegal to outsource that. Why should where the hardware is located determine if it is legal or not. What if I rent my home instead of owning it – can I use a DVR to record shows that show up of the antenna the landlord put up?

        1. What is the difference if cable or satellite TV do it then?
          It is all the same thing, doesn’t matter what Aereo’s ‘take’ on it is.

          If the courts allow Aereo to retransmit, then they have to allow it for other ‘retransmitters’ also.

          The only thing Aereo did was claim it was ‘different’ (when it isn’t).

          I know, some people will jump up and down and claim the ‘airwaves’ are public. Well, that’s just nonsense. They are regulated for public good, but the government doesn’t OWN them.

          1. My question is what is the difference if I am the retransmitter (DVR in a home I own), I am the retransmitted using equipment I do not own (rent an apartment with an antenna the landlord owns)?

            What if I lease the DVR and put in in my leased residence. Why is that different than leasing equipment that is not physically located in my residence?

            Should I be able to DVR a show while driving a leased RV?

            How is this different than what Aero is doing?

            (I know what Aero is doing is not that different than what the cartels are doing – outside of them not rebroadcasting things that were not publicly broadcast for use by the public)

            I cannot get good OTA signal as my house, why cannot I find a technological solution to get those signals delivered to me?

            Why is buying a super large antenna on a super large mast more legal than putting is somewhere else?

            You are right the government does not own the airwaves. Nor does it own the content. If the providers do not want to broadcast it, they should turn off the broadcast antennas.

            1. Other than I am hiring them to provide a service that I could provide for myself.

              Guess if I hire neighbor’s kid to pick up a book at the library for me that the publisher would have the same issue with that kiddo.

              Suppose a valid alternative is to have a co-op where the end-users own the antenna hardware instead of leasing it.

          2. Aereo is different as there is one antenna per subscriber. This antenna is housed and managed by Aereo with the over the air signal transmitted to a subscribers home using the internet. Cable and satellite transmit to many with one antenna. This is the key fundamental difference not to mention this is a free signal.

            1. No, it is not a ‘key’ fundamental difference.
              It is a silly excuse for skirting the intent of a regulation and akin to a child saying “I didn’t break that window, the rock did after I let it go…”

              Why not just claim you are leasing a percent of the gain of one frequency specific cut antennae like a big condo coop? Then cable companies could skirt the retrains fees, too.

              And does each of Aereo’s ‘antenna-minis’ have it’s own amplifier, frequency filter, combiner and tuner? I mean, you seriously believe they will put up millions in an area like LA (as CitizenX rightly pointed out)?

              If they change the law for all, then great (and I’ll finally be able to get PBS…) but until then, Aereo is just a scam.

        2. It is NOT legal to have a friend record a show for you and give you the tape. You may record something for personal use but even that is very restricted, legally. . . you cannot charge for people to watch what you have recorded, for example, or even charge to watch unrecorded over the air TV.

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