It seems that the internet-TV start-up Aereo has won a preliminary battle in the war being waged by major broadcasters against it’s broadcast TV delivery model.  As I first posted here, Aereo has built its business on a unique model for the retransmission of over-the-air broadcasts to their subscribers, drawing the ire of major broadcasters such as ABC, NBC and CBS.  Basically, Aereo  users pay a subscription fee to have over-the-air broadcasts retransmitted over the internet to their mobile devices.  This seems innocuous, except for the fact that Aereo takes the position that it is not required to pay any compulsory license fees to the broadcasters (as required under the Copyright Act of 1976 for cable television and satellite broadcasters).   because each user is assigned their own unique antenna from which to initially receive the broadcast signals. As I originally posted:

“Aereo, however, seems to think that it is not subject to any such compulsory license whatsoever – by placing thousands of antennae in an area where they roll out the service, they pair each antenna to a specific subscriber.  In so doing, they essentially make the argument that their service is the same as using your TV to receive over-the-air broadcast signals…just without the direct local connection to an antenna.  Interesting…but is it infringing?”

Unfortunately for the major networks who filed suit in the Southern District of New York, the federal judge assigned to the case denied the preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs that would have shut down Aereo’s operations.  Essentially, the judge was not convinced that the broadcasters would suffer irreparable harm.  This decision permits Aereo to keep operating…for now.   Based upon the legal fights in this case up to this point (such as this one), this battle has only just begun.  As always, we’ll do our best keep you posted (no pun intended….really!)…

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