The Barry Diller company that streams broadcast stations via tiny antennas that pick up over-the-air signals, plans to offer its service in nearly two dozen more US cities this year after a court victory for the Aereo service in New York
Media mogul Diller, said of the ruling: “We always thought our Aereo platform was permissible and I’m glad the court has denied the injunction. Now we’ll build out the rest of the U.S.”
Broadcasters, including CBS , Comcast, News Corporation and Walt Disney, sued Aereo more than a year ago, weeks before the service started in New York. But a district court judge denied the request for a preliminary injunction last summer and on Monday an appeals court affirmed that ruling.
In a 2-to-1 decision, the court said Aereo’s streams of TV shows to individual subscribers did not constitute “public performances,” and thus the broadcasters’ copyright infringement lawsuits against the service “are not likely to prevail on the merits.”
One judge, Denny Chin, dissented , calling Aereo’s antenna system “a Rube Goldberg-like contrivance, overengineered in an attempt to avoid the reach of the Copyright Act and to take advantage of a perceived loophole in the law.”
Aereo gives television viewers a new and relatively cheap way to subscribe to a limited diet of TV and gives advertisers yet another way to reach those viewers, said the New York Times.
Subscribers pay about $8 a month receive control over one antenna and can select programming over the Internet.
"Areo’s wins in court may make other companies more comfortable in joining forces with the service; prospective partners include cable channels that want carriage," said the NYT, pointing out that Bloomberg TV signed the first such deal with Aereo last year.
A group of the plaintiffs, including Fox and PBS, said they intended to move to trial.
“Today’s decision is a loss for the entire creative community,” they said in a statement. “The court has ruled that it is O.K. to steal copyrighted material and retransmit it without compensation. ”