Advanced Television

Court deals further blow to Aereo

August 22, 2014

By Colin Mann

A US court has delivered a further setback to Internet entertainment streaming service Aereo’s continued attempts to resume operations by being designated a cable company.

Aereo suspended its operations June 28 following the Supreme Court copyright decision in favour of US broadcasters and has suggested that after the Supreme Court’s decision, Aereo should be recognised as a cable system with respect to its method of transmission and licensed as such, paying appropriate fees.

However, it will be unable to pursue this argument in court, according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, with procedural reasons requiring that it do so at the district court level, officials said in a document filed August 22.

The decision is a further win for broadcasters, who had sought a ban on Aereo from its inception. Initially, the district court decided against an injunction, but the June 25 Supreme Court ruling reversed that decision.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York has now ruled that if Aereo wants to argue that it is a cable company only for the purposes of copyright law — and therefore qualified to pay lower royalties — it is currently making the argument to the wrong people.

“On April 1, 2013, we affirmed the district court’s order of July 11, 2012, denying Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion. In accordance with the instructions of the Supreme Court, we therefore now VACATE the district court’s order denying the preliminary injunction and REMAND the case for further proceedings. By letter dated July 24, 2014, appellee Aereo, Inc. seeks “further consideration of the preliminary injunction issues in this case by this Court,” specifically, whether Aereo is a ‘cable system’ entitled to a statutory license. The request is denied. We leave it to the district court to consider whether the issues are properly raised in these cases and, if so, to rule on the issues in the first instance,” says the judges’ ruling.

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