Aereo set to launch on Wednesday


AereoDespite lawsuits by most of the major broadcasters claiming that the company’s planned service violates copyright law, Barry Diller’s Aereo is set to launch Wednesday (3/14) in the New York DMA, with other markets to follow. Aereo’s response to the lawsuits is to seek a federal court ruling that its Internet delivery of local broadcast programming is legal.

Aereo claims that previous court cases involving consumer recording of programs for their personal use and the use of remotely accessed DVRs apply to its service.

“This case concerns the application of established law to an innovative use of familiar technologies,” Aereo said in its counterclaim seeking a declaration that it does not infringe on the copyrights of broadcasters. “Consumers use the Aereo Technology to do no more than what they are entitled to do: access local television broadcasts on the public airwaves using an individual antenna; create unique copies of that broadcast content for their own personal use; and play back their unique recordings to their televisions or other viewing devices for their personal use.”

Aereo filed its counterclaim in the lawsuit brought by ABC, NBC, CBS and some other broadcasters. The plaintiffs in a second lawsuit brought by Fox, Univision, PBS and some other broadcasters have joined Aereo in asking the court to combine their case with the other one.

RBR-TVBR observation: Aereo is taking a different legal approach than FilmOn and ivi, whose Internet services delivering local broadcast programming were shut down by the federal courts. Nonetheless, it is quite a leap to claim that this is “established law” and that Aereo’s service is legit under the copyright law.