A federal judge in the US has denied a petition filed by the country’s major broadcasters for a preliminary injunction to stop new TV venture Aereo from rebroadcasting free-to-air programming over the Internet for a subscription fee.
US District Judge Alison Nathan said yesterday (July 11th) that despite the broadcasters having convincingly demonstrated that they face considerable financial damage if Aereo is allowed to continue, an injunction would effectively force Aereo out of business.
The broadcasters – Walt Disney Co’s ABC, CBS Corp, Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal and Telemundo, News Corp’s Fox, Univision Communications and PBS – are currently pursuing a copyright lawsuit against Aereo, and have vowed to appeal the initial ruling against an injunction.
Despite this early good news for Aereo, there is still a long way to go before the copyright lawsuit is settled, including its hearing before a jury.
Aereo is backed by US billionaire Barry Diller and provides subscribers with access to their own dedicated, miniaturised FTA antenna installed in its data centre, capable of streaming content via IP to the subscriber’s connected devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets.
The US$ 12 per month service also provides subscribers with cloud DVR services, including the ability to store up to 40 hours of programming for access on any connected device.
For their part, the broadcasters have alleged that if the service is allowed to continue, they will lose the right to retransmission fees from cable and other companies that rebroadcast their programming, as well as critical advertising revenue – which could have potentially huge repercussions for the US television industry.