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Aereo Banned in Six States; Utah Judge Rules Service Violates Copyright Laws

Phillip Dampier February 20, 2014 Competition, Consumer News, Online Video, Public Policy & Gov't 1 Comment

aereo_logoA Utah federal district court judge has found Aereo in violation of federal copyright law and must end online streaming of over the air television stations to customers within his jurisdiction, which includes Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming and Oklahoma.

U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Kimball broke ranks with district court judges in the eastern U.S. that have ruled Aereo’s streamed feeds of local television stations received over the air by tiny antennas is within the law, but the Supreme Court is expected to have the last word when it hears arguments about the service’s legality later this spring.

The ruling means Aereo will have to suspend service in two of its 10 operating markets — Salt Lake City and Denver. Service to other markets will continue unaffected for now.

Kimball’s decision was based on The Copyright Act of 1976 which requires broadcasters and retransmission services to pay royalties to content originators, in this case the networks and the affiliated local stations involved. Broadcasters consider Aereo a major threat to their retransmission consent revenue stream. Cable, satellite, and telephone company providers are collectively paying millions for permission to carry local stations on their lineups. Should Aereo offer a free alternative, these pay television providers could adopt similar technology to avoid paying the fees.

Kimball determined Aereo was operating more like a cable company than a remote antenna service.

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. GerAng says:

    Broadcasters: Hey, provide a usable signal to the entire DMA that you claim to serve. Also, quit blocking potential viewers of your App services by putting it behind an “authentication wall”.

    Aereo: Please go away so you don’t screw things up for the growing number of OTA people.

    Cable/Satellite companies: Start deploying STBs that integrate an OTA signal along with your own. Start making the broadcast channel tier an optional programming package.

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