Utah court to hear Aereo Case


AereoThe U.S. District Court will hear broadcasters’ motion for a preliminary injunction against the streaming service on 2/11. This, as SCOTUS plans to look at the copyright infringement allegations from broadcasters against Aereo.

If the Utah court sides with broadcasters then its decision would apply to six states that make up the 10th Circuit, noted Deadline.com: Fox, one of the plaintiffs, says that it is “pleased” by the decision, and “hopeful” that the court will bar Aereo from serving the region before the high court considers the arguments.

In December, Nexstar’s KTVX-TV (ABC) and KUCW-TV (CW) in Salt Lake City, asked the court to stop the broadcast TV streaming service from broadcasting their channels in Utah and beyond. In a preliminary injunction, the stations claim Aereo is violating its copyrights by broadcasting its stations for a fee.

In October, Sinclair’s KUTV-TV (CBS) and Local TV/Tribune’s KSTU-TV Fox 13 in that city filed a federal lawsuit that accuses the company of illegally rebroadcasting their content. That same month, Nexstar filed its own suit on behalf of KTVX and KUCW—but the injunction was been filed by the stations separately. However, the Court granted Aereo’s request to consolidate both lawsuits into one.

Aereo prevailed this summer when the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court finding that its service did not violate the Copyright Act’s public performance provision. However, Aereo copycat company Aereokiller had a setback in the 9th Circuit in California last December, so expanding into California, Oregon and Washington might be ill advised for Aereo.  The federal judge in the 9th Circuit ordered Aereokiller to shut down its service–in part because it was ruled that broadcasters were likely to win on their claims of copyright infringement based on Ninth Circuit precedent. The judge ruled, however, that his decision was applicable only in Ninth Circuit territory–which covers much of the West Coast–because it conflicted with the earlier New York decision which covers the Second Circuit.

RBR-TVBR observation: As we’ve said before, broadcasters should come together in each of Aereo’s markets (like Salt Lake, Boston, etc. already) and planned markets to sue for copyright infringement and injunctive relief. The more rulings that are in their favor, the more likely the Supreme Court will take those rulings into consideration as it hears the case.