Broadcasters lose bid to shutter Aereo

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In a decision that could allow Aereo to partner with pay TV providers, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request from Fox, CBS, NBC and 14 other broadcasters that have been fighting for an injunction to shutter the Internet video platform.

Monday's decision will allow Aereo to expand its platform nationwide. Last March, the company launched a service in New York City that uses arrays of dime-sized antennas to capture local TV signals and deliver programming to subscribers via HTML5.

Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said in a prepared statement that the ruling "sends a powerful message that consumer access to free-to-air broadcast television is still meaningful in this country."

The broadcasters have alleged that Aereo violates federal copyright law with its platform, which stores programming on a cloud-based DVR. But Aereo has argued that the same laws that allow Cablevision to offer subscribers a network-based DVR protect its platform.

"Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that they are likely to prevail on the merits on this claim in their copyright infringement action," the court wrote in Monday's ruling.

Consumer group Public Knowledge cheered the decision. "It is likely that the broadcasters will try to overturn this decision in the courts or Congress. But Public Knowledge will continue to argue that any change to the telecommunications and copyright laws that govern the video marketplace should be in a direction that better serves the needs of viewers and not broadcasters or other intermediaries," Public Knowledge staff attorney John Bergmayer said in a prepared statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Aereo is exploring partnerships with AT&T (NYSE: T) and Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH). Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt said the MSO has also studied Aereo's platform.

For more:
- Bloomberg has this story
- see statement from Public Knowledge

Related articles:
AT&T, Dish Network eye local TV partnerships with Aereo
Aereo hires Cablevision attorney for copyright battle with broadcasters
Broadcasters hire attorney that shut down Napster to lead lawsuit against Aereo
Britt: Aereo could help Time Warner Cable stop paying retransmission-consent fees
Diller: Aereo targets 75-100 cities with broadcast TV platform
Aereo wins against broadcasters, can continue selling access to antennas

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