Aereo Wins Another Early Ruling, but Can't Move Case to Friendly New York

Broadcasters Lose Another Chance to Shut Down Aereo While Case Proceeds

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Aereo has won another court skirmish, with a judge in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts denying Hearst and its Boston broadcast TV station WCVB a preliminary injunction against the service.

Watching the NFL online using Aereo's service
Watching the NFL online using Aereo's service Credit: Aereo

Aereo, which pulls broadcast programming from the air using antennas and delivers it to subscribers via internet-connected devices, has been entwined in legal battles with broadcast networks as well as TV station owners such as Hearst, which claim the service infringes on their copyrights.

But broadcasters have so far failed in their attempts to get Aereo shut down before the merits of their arguments can be heard in fuller court proceedings. "Hearst has not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits nor the requisite irreparable harm and therefore it is not entitled to that 'extraordinary and drastic remedy,'" Judge Nathaniel Gorton said.

But the judge did deny Aereo's request to move the case to New York, where courts have been friendly to the company so far. Aereo had favorable rulings in the Southern District of New York in July and Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York in April and July.

A similar service was recently shut down by a California court, however, setting up the prospect of an eventual Supreme Court battle to resolve disparate rulings.

Aereo, which is back by Barry Diller, argues that it respects broadcasters' copyrights by assigning personal antennas to each subscriber, who wouldn't be violating copyrights if they pulled signals from the air with their own antennas. The service costs about $8 per month, revenue that is not shared with the networks.

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