updated 01:45 pm EDT, Mon April 1, 2013
Cloud-based DVR, TV service deemed not infringing copyright
Live TV streaming service Aereo has won a major court battle against a number of television networks, after the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal from broadcasters. The two-to-one vote confirms that Aereo does not infringe the copyrights of broadcasters, and clears the legal standing of the service in general.
The Aereo system, costing $12 per month, allows customers to watch 20 local TV channels, using a large number of miniaturized antennas supplied to customers. The argument from broadcasters claimed that Aereo lacked the correct licensing to offer broadcaster-licensed copyrighted material to its users, but the court disagreed, reports The Verge.
Judge Christopher Droney stated that the signal received by a user's miniature antenna in their home is private, and that the signal is being rebroadcasted only to one person: the home owner. "Plaintiffs have presented no reason why the result should be any different when that rooftop antenna is rented from Aereo and its signals transmitted over the Internet: it remains the case that only one person can receive that antenna's transmissions," said the Judge.
While the National Association of Broadcasters claimed the service charged users a fee "for content they do not own," it was maintained by Aereo that it provided a license for users to stream signals from the antenna, and to use its cloud-based DVR offering, rather than the content.
The broadcasters will have to either win another appeal via the full Second Circuit, or through the Supreme Court, in order to shutter Aereo. Meanwhile, Aereo is looking to expand the service to 22 more cities by the end of the year.