In a court ruling that is may eventually have an impact on North Carolina television viewers, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah has issued an injunction shutting down the streaming services of Aereo in six states. The company contends that its service, which allows viewing of network television broadcasts on mobile devices, computers and televisions with a short delay after they are aired, does not violate federal copyright laws.
A local Fox station in Utah sued Aereo in October 2013, and the injunction affects Aereo’s subscription services in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wyoming. Aereo argues that its service is no different from the old-fashioned rabbit ears that were needed to pick up broadcast television shows in the past. Unlike cable television companies, Aereo does not pay licensing fees to the networks.
In its decision, the District Court found little difference between the methods used by cable companies and those by Aereo. It went on to rule that the transmission by Aereo constitutes a “public performance” within the meaning of the U.S. Copyright Act.
This is not the first time that the company has found itself in a business dispute with a broadcast network. In 2012, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, ruling in favor of Aereo against a copyright claim asserted by a local ABC-TV affiliate, refused to issue an injunction, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued a similar ruling last year as well. The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing an appeal of that 2nd Circuit decision at some point during its current term.
Source: Courthouse News , “Aereo streaming service shut down in 6 states.“, Matt Reynolds, February 21, 2014