Broadcasters strive to halt Aereo: the next episode

In April, we wrote about the ongoing dispute surrounding Aereo, the upstart technology company that utilises warehouses full of tiny antennas to capture over-the-air television and then retransmit it over the internet to its subscribers’ digital devices.

Broadcasters, who view Aereo as a threat to the millions of dollars in performance royalties that cable systems pay for retransmission of over-the-air programming, sued for a preliminary injunction, but lost in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then lost again in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction. WNET et al v Aereo Inc, 712 F. 3d 676 (2d Cir. 2013).

The efforts of WNET and other over-the-air broadcasters to obtain en banc rehearing of this ruling failed on 16 July, when 10 of 12 Second Circuit judges voted to deny rehearing. Circuit judge Denny Chin (the dissenter in the panel decision favouring Aereo), joined by circuit judge Richard C Wesley, wrote a lengthy and acerbic dissent from the denial of en banc review, which appears intended to catch the eye of the US Supreme Court. And, indeed, the losers in the Second Circuit appeal have already announced that they intend to ask the Supreme Court to review the Second Circuit decision…

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