Thursday May 23, 2019

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Broadcasters Sue Aereo Over New Mobile Broadcast Service

Several major broadcasters are suing Aereo to prevent the upcoming launch of its subscription service that allows users to watch broadcast TV on mobile devices. According to Multichannel News, two lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY, allege violations of copyright laws, and seek an injunction to block Aereo’s services, damages and court costs. One lawsuit names ABC, Disney Enterprises, CBS, CBS Studios, NBC Universal Media, NBC Studios, Universal Network Television, Telemundo Network Group and WNJU-TV as plaintiffs.

In a statement issued to B&C, ABC, CBS and NBC said that “this service is based on the illegal use of our content. Beyond that, we believe the complaint speaks for itself.” Plaintiffs named in the other suit are PBS, Fox Television Stations, Univision Television Group, the Univision Network, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., WNET and Thirteen. 

Aereo, which went public in mid-February, planned to launch a $12 monthly subscription service in NY, and hoped to offer the service nationally. The company has raised about $25 million from funders, including IAC’s Barry Diller.

Aereo contends that their service does not violate copyright laws because each subscriber has its own antenna in the company’s facility, which offers dedicated storage for the DVR features. At an earlier press conference this month Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s founder and CEO, announced the service and predicted there would be opposition.

“We understand that there will be challenges… We are building a transformative business and there will be challenges,” Multichannel reported Kanojia said.

Multichannel News