US Supreme Court will hear broadcasters’ case against Aereo

By Melissa A Reinckens and Marc E Miller

Aereo, a New York-based start-up technology company financed by Barry Diller, utilises warehouses full of tiny antennas to capture over-the-air television and then re-transmits it over the internet to its subscribers’ digital devices. It claims that from a legal perspective this service is no different than when users receive the same signals through their own home digital antennas.

Broadcasters have sought to shut down Aereo, and its copycat services, which they view as an immediate threat to the broadcast television industry’s over-the-air programming royalty regime. They claim that Aereo infringes the ‘public performance’ right in their programming, which is protected by copyright.

The broadcasters’ demand for a preliminary injunction against Aereo was denied by a New York federal court, which found no infringement of public performance rights. The Second Circuit affirmed the denial of relief, then turned down the broadcasters’ request for an en banc re-hearing….

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