US internet TV startup Aereo has won a court victory, rejecting claims by firms including Disney and CBS that the service should be shut down.
A ruling by the second circuit court of appeals in New York upheld a previous decision, denying an injunction against the firm for distributing broadcast television over the web.
Last year Aereo was hit by lawsuits from 17 broadcasters including Fox, Univision, ABC, NBC, CBS, alleging that the service infringed their copyrights. They claimed that Aereo should not be allowed to retransmit television stations over the web without licensing the content from content owners or receiving consent from the TV signal owners.
However last summer Judge Alison Nathan in a New York District Court court denied calls to close the service, a decision that was upheld yesterday. Based on an earlier court precedent in a case including Cableviaion, transmissions made by consumers using the Aereo technology are not public performances under the Copyright Act, the appeals court said.
“Today’s ruling to uphold Judge Nathan’s decision sends a powerful message that consumer access to free-to‐air broadcast television is still meaningful in this country and that the promise and commitment made by the broadcasters to act in the public interest in exchange for the public’s spectrum, remains an important part of our American fabric,” said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia yesterday.
Aereo, which is backed by US media mogul Barry Diller, is currently live in New York and plans to launch in 22 new US cities this year. In January the startup raised US$38 million (€29 million) in funding.