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Aereo argues for right to operate as cable provider

AereoBanned US TV streaming service Aereo has argued that it can continue to operate as a ‘cable system’, and should be entitled it a statutory licence to transmit content, weeks after the Supreme Court ruled OTT streaming service Aereo illegal.

In a letter to a New York district court judge, Aereo argued that based on the Supreme Court’s decision, which deemed the service to be “for all practical purposes a traditional cable system” it should now be entitled to a licence to operate as such.

In a legal u-turn, Aereo conceded in the letter that it has “rethought its entire legal strategy.”

Previously, Aereo’s defence hinged on the argument that it should not be considered a cable system, exempting it from paying re-transmission fees and royalties to the broadcasters and channels that it was distributing.

As part of its new approach, the firm argued that “as a cable system, Aereo is now entitled to the benefits of the copyright statutory licence” and said it is “proceeding to file the necessary statements of account and royalty fees.”

At the end of June the US Supreme Court ruled by a majority of six to three that Aereo’s strategy of charging customers a monthly fee for retransmitted streams of US broadcast channels violated copyright and should stop.

In effect, the court decision defined Aereo as a cable provider, meaning its retransmissions are the same as a public performance under America’s Copyright Act. The result is the broadcasters can seek an injunction.

Disney/ABC Television Group, CBS Corp., 21st Century Fox and Univision Communications were among those welcoming the decision, which appeared to effectively end Aereo as a functioning business.

Days later, Aereo suspended its operations, but said the decision had been made to “temporarily” pause operations as the company maps out its “next steps”.

Tags: Aereo, US