Aereo hit by nationwide injunction

Online entertainment streaming service Aereo, which suspended its operations June 28th following the Supreme Court copyright decision in favour of US broadcasters, has been dealt a further legal blow.

“Following the Supreme Court’s decision, this Circuit’s law with respect to Aereo’s live or near-live retransmission no longer conflicts with the law of its sister circuits,” Judge Alison Nathan ordered in a Southern New York US District court ruling. “Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction barring Aereo from retransmitting programs to its subscribers while the programs are still being broadcast is GRANTED,” she ruled.

Aereo had argued that the Supreme Court ruling entitled it to cable system status, with the concomitant licensing regime and obligations, but Judge Nathan ruled otherwise. “The Supreme Court in Aereo III did not imply, much less hold, that simply because an entity performs publicly in much the same way as a CATV system, it is necessarily a cable system entitled to a compulsory licence,” she explained.

Aereo said it was reviewing the decision and evaluating its options moving forward.

It has filed an ex parte notice disclosing its recent conversations with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where it expressed its support for including a narrow category of online video services, whose facilities deliver to subscribers linear channels of video programming such as local, over-the-air broadcast programming, within the FCC’s definition of a Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPD).

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