Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Aereo avoids a preliminary injunction

Aereo, the New York-based Internet rebroadcasting service backed by Barry Diller's IAC, has won a round in U.S. District Court. According to Reuters, Judge Alison Nathan rejected requests by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and other networks and local broadcasters for a preliminary injunction to halt Aereo's service. The broadcasters argued that they would suffer irreparable harm if they didn't get an injunction, while Aereo argued that it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction was issued. The judge decided that the "balance of hardships" didn't tip decidedly in the broadcasters' favor, and denied the injunction.

Update, July 12, 2012: CED provided more details of Judge Nathan's decision. She wrote that she most likely would have upheld the broadcasters' request for a preliminary injunction, but couldn't, due to the ruling of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan in a case challenging Cablevision's RS-DVR system. In that case, the court found that Cablevision's network DVR system didn't violate broadcasters' and cable networks' copyrights. Aereo is relying on the Cablevision decision in its defense, and Judge Nathan wrote that the arguments made by the broadcasters were "profoundly similar to those already considered and rejected" by the Court of Appeals.

Broadcasters have already begun the process of appealing Nathan's decision, but assuming that Judge Nathan's decision is upheld, they're going to have to come up with a different approach to the case.
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