Aereo wins partial court victory

Aereo, Barry Diller’s startup that takes live TV broadcasts and sends them to mobile devices in New York for a monthly fee, has won a partial victory in court over the media companies that are suing it.

A US District Court in New York dismissed one of three claims made by a group of broadcast companies, including News Corp.’s Fox, PBS among others. The judge dismissed the claim of unfair competition, saying it was pre-empted by the Copyright Act.

Two claims of copyright infringement remain in the Fox-led suit as does a separate copyright lawsuit that includes ABC, CBS and NBC as plaintiffs. A hearing on a preliminary injunction for both suits begins May 30.

The broadcasters have argued that Aereo is copying and retransmitting their programming over the Internet unlawfully. Aereo contends that by assigning miniature antennas to each of its users, it is providing legal access to free over-the-air broadcasts.

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