Aereo must submit to depositions


AereoBroadcasters will get two hours to question antenna-based broadcast streaming provider Aereo on the patents it holds, despite the company’s objections, New York magistrate judge Henry Pitman ruled 10/7. Pitman said that Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia and Chief Technology Officer Joseph Lipowski must submit to one hour each of deposition regarding Aereo’s patents, reports The Hill.

The deposition will come as part of the copyright-infringement case between Aereo and broadcasters, who claim the company is infringing their copyrights by streaming broadcast content without permission.

Aereo has argued that its technology is “not substantially different from what consumers could accomplish with off-the-shelf components,” which could mean the company is not irreparably harming broadcasters, Pitman wrote. However, in its patent applications, Aereo claimed its technology is new in that it allows users to view broadcast content on “other video-capable devices. Although the two positions are not irreconcilable, there is a certain tension between them sufficient to warrant examination,” Pitman wrote.

The ruling echoes Pitman’s ruling from June, which said Kenojia and Lipowski should answer questions about the company’s patents during deposition.

Aereo requested that the court reconsider the June ruling, and Pitman denied that request 10/7, dismissing Aereo’s arguments that its patents are irrelevant to the copyright case.

Aereo recently announced its nationwide expansion has added four new cities: Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and San Antonio.

Meanwhile, in the last few weeks, Federal Judge Rosemary Collyer refused to reconsider her order prohibiting Alki David’s startup from streaming TV shows. The ruling for FilmOn X, an Aereo copycat that also uses arrays of tiny antennas to stream local over-the-air broadcast television, is not good for Aereo, either. The cavalcade of opinions in the different districts likely means the courts will issue directly conflicting final rulings. The 9th Circuit is soon to rule on the legality of antenna-based TV streaming services.

See The Hill story here