In an opinion issued today, Judge Nathan denied the motion of several major broadcast television networks to enjoin Barry Diller-backed start-up Aereo from offering its Internet television service to subscribers. This decision follows an expedited spate of briefing and a two-day hearing, which the SDNY Blog has covered in previous posts. Judge Nathan’s decision, which goes deep into the weeds of the various technologies involved in Aereo’s offerings, turns on the applicability of the Second Circuit’s Cablevision decision, which held that a traditional DVR system did not infringe a copyright owner’s public performance rights under the Copyright Act. Judge Nathan summarized each side’s version of the applicability of Cablevision to Aereo’s product:
Continue Reading Judge Nathan Denies TV Networks’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction Against Aereo

In separate filings today, both sides in the broadcast television networks’ action to preliminarily enjoin the Aereo Internet television service (which we have blogged about on several occasions) put forth competing proposed findings of fact and law to Judge Nathan, as the parties await the Court’s ruling after a two-day preliminary injunction hearing in late-May. The parties offered starkly contrasting descriptions of the Aereo product. Which version of the parties’ characterization of the Aereo service Judge Nathan accepts will likely go a long way to determining whether the Aereo service violates the Copyright Act or not, and thus whether the company’s business can survive.
Continue Reading Parties Submit Dueling Proposed Findings of Fact and Law in Aereo Preliminary Injunction Matter

As we previously reported, the preliminary injunction hearing between Internet TV start-up Aereo and the major network broadcasters went forward last week before Judge Nathan. Yesterday, the broadcasters got presumably their last bite at the apple, with a reply brief in further support of their original motion for the injunction. In the brief, the broadcasters take on Aereo’s argument that Internet streaming of live TV (on a seven-second delay) is akin to the “time-shifting” function of a DVR or VHS, and thus protected under the Supreme Court’s historic Sony decision and the Second Circuit’s holding in Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings (“Cablevision“). In contrast to the recording devices at issue in those cases, the broadcasters argue, Aereo’s service does not permit individual users to copy specific programs for later consumption. Instead, Aereo itself captures the over-the-air (“OTA”) signals of broadcast television and then retransmits them to subscribers over the Internet. In addition, Aereo’s service allows consumers to view copyrighted content in a completely different medium — on computers or handheld devices over the Internet, rather than on televisions — which the broadcasters claim puts the Aereo service outside of the scope of Sony and Cablevision.
Continue Reading Broadcasters Attempt to Distinguish Aereo’s Internet-TV Service from DVRs in Reply Brief

Today, after extensive, fast-paced briefing from both the parties and potential amici, Judge Nathan will hold a preliminary injunction hearing that will decide, at least for the short-term, the fate of internet television start-up Aereo. As we explained in an earlier post, Judge Nathan has already dismissed the plaintiffs’ state law unfair competition claim as preempted by the Copyright Act. Now, the Court will be asked to determine whether Aereo’s service violates the Copyright Act itself.
Continue Reading Preliminary Injunction Hearing in Aereo Case Goes Forward Today