Court Rules for Networks – Ends Aereo Live Broadcasting

Posted by at 4:55 am on October 24, 2014

Aereo LogoAereo was dealt another blow in its battle to survive today thanks to a New York court. US District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of broadcasters (NAB) in a 17-page decision, putting a nationwide preliminary injunction in place against the startup. As a result, Aereo can no longer operate its “Watch Now” system that allowed television programs to be rebroadcasted over the Internet.

The temporary order against Aereo was issued after Nathan rejected the idea that the company would be irreparably harmed if it wasn’t allowed to continue rebroadcasting programming. The judge sided with the ruling the Supreme Court handed down in June. The highest court in the land believed Aereo was publicly performing when it rebroadcasted shows live over the Internet, thus infringing on the works of broadcasters.

“In light of this conclusion, Aereo cannot claim harm from its inability to continue infringing plaintiffs’ copyrights,” said Nathan. “In addition, in light of the fact that plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits rather than just sufficiently serious questions going to the merits, they need no longer show that the balance of hardships tips decidedly in their favor.”

Even with the ruling, Aereo still isn’t forced to shut down entirely as the restraining order doesn’t target the DVR technology. Though the language that broadcasters used looked to halt Aereo from continuing with the time-shift technology, Nathan recognized that it went beyond the scope of the motion for preliminary injunction. Broadcasters believed that the time of the retransmission didn’t matter, based on the reasoning the Supreme Court used. However, Nathan pointed out that the Supreme Court was careful in the ruling as it only applied to “near-simultaneous retransmissions.” The court clearly stated that streaming at a later date was not under review.

Aereo spokeswoman Virginia Lam told CNet that the company is “reviewing the decision and evaluating our options moving forward.” However, Aereo essentially considered itself dead in the water after declaring it would voluntarily shut down in June. Since then the company has struggled to find a way to survive.

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