updated 07:54 am EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Stay is not pending appeal, but to serve the public good
Online over-the-air television streamer Aereo has won a very brief reprieve from its shutdown order across six states. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that "notwithstanding the many factors weighing against a stay, the court, in its discretion, grants Aereo a temporary 14-day stay."
"A temporary stay focuses on the status quo, which the parties sharply dispute in this case. Plaintiffs claim the status quo should be prior to Aereo beginning its infringing activities, whereas Aereo contends the status quo should be considered its current operations," the judge commented in his ruling denying a permanent stay pending appeal.
"Nothing would prevent Aereo from continuing to operate its service within the Tenth Circuit if it pays licensing fees and obtains consent for its retransmissions in compliance with the Copyright Act. Because Aereo could choose to continue its business operations in the Tenth Circuit, its only harm would be a decreased profit margin if it maintained its current subscription prices and paid the proper licensing fees," Judge Kimball noted, clearly hinting that Aereo should consider negotiating and signing a rebroadcasting agreement in the 14 days given.
"The court agrees that upon Aereo's entrance into the Utah market, Plaintiffs moved quickly to preserve [their] rights. But, there is no question that Aereo is presently in business within this Circuit, has been in business for several months, and currently has many customers," Kimball noted.
The judge originally ruled that the streamer was violating the copyrights of broadcasters with its service in the states of Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Wyoming, and segments of Montana and Idaho. As a result of the ruling, Aereo's operation in Salt Lake City, UT, and Denver, CO will have to be shuttered, assuming Aereo can't find some way to legally maintain operation for longer than the two weeks the judge is allowing.