Judge Allows Aereo to Continue Providing Broadcast Television over the Internet
By Brittany Horth – Edited by Charlie Stiernberg
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., 12 Civ. 1540 (AJN) (S.D.N.Y. July 11, 2012)
Judge Alison J. Nathan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a request for a preliminary injunction made by a group of broadcast television companies against Barry Diller’s Aereo, a system exclusively available in New York City that allows subscribers to watch and record live broadcast television over the Internet.
Judge Nathan held that the plaintiffs did not show a likelihood of success on the merits in their claim that Aereo is liable for copyright infringement for publicly performing the plaintiffs’ copyrighted works but did show that they would suffer irreparable harm. Am. Broad. Co., slip op. at 36, 44. She explained that the plaintiffs likely would have been granted a preliminary injunction “but for” the Second Circuit’s reading of “the transmit clause” in 17 U.S.C. § 101 in Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. CSC Holdings, Inc., 536 F.3d 121 (2d Cir. 2008) (“Cablevision”). Id. at 1. (JOLT Digest has previously reported on Cablevision and its continuing significance.) Instead, she rejected all of the plaintiffs’ attempts to distinguish Aereo from the service at issue in Cablevision and concluded that the Second Circuit’s analysis in Cablevision was equally applicable to the present case. Id. at 21, 52.
A brief summary of the continuing situation is available at the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times features an analysis of the denial as well as the relevant precedent, including Cablevision and Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984) (“Sony Betamax”). CNNMoney provides a more detailed overview of Judge Nathan’s reasoning. CNBC offers Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia’s thoughts on the future of Aereo now that they have received this favorable ruling.