NEW YORK —
Monday that closed a $34 million Series C round of financing. On Friday, the
Supreme Court is set to deliberate broadcasters’ request for review of their
case against Aereo. The temporal proximity was noted by Twittarians.
“Aereo raises $34 million in financing with Supreme Court due to decide on
Friday whether to hear lawsuit filed by broadcasters wanting to close it,”
Horizon Media’s Brad Adgate tweeted.
Legal Battles? Video Upstart Aereo Lands $34M In New Funding, Plans Big U.S. Expansion.”
“ Aereo TV-anywhere startup gets $34M despite
litigious fight with broadcasters.”
Aereo is retransmitting broadcast television signals to mobile devices for a
fee without an agreement with the stations. Those stations and their groups are
suing Aereo for copyright violation—the premise that underlies retransmission
consent law. Two federal courts and an appeals court have denied the
plaintiffs’ request for an injunction against Aereo. The plaintiffs subsequently
filed a cert petition with the Supreme Court Oct. 11, 2013, asking for a
review. The issue is on the court’s
for Jan. 10.
Aereo stated publicly in mid-December that it would not oppose the petition.
the law is clear and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and two different
federal courts have ruled in favor of Aereo, broadcasters appear determined to
keep litigating the same issues against Aereo in every jurisdiction that we
enter. We want this resolved on the merits rather than through a wasteful war
of attrition.” Aereo CEO Chet Kanojila said.
There is no guarantee that the justices will grant the petition, nor is there a
way to know which justices will review it, Harry Cole of Fletcher, Heald &
Hildreth noted in CommLawBlog.
However, he said, “it doesn’t hurt the chances” of review that eight
organizations filed amicus briefs
supporting the case. Especially considering those include the National Football
League, Major League Baseball, Viacom, Time Warner and Warner Bros., among
Meanwhile, Aereo marches on with service in New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas,
Denver, Detroit and Baltimore. (Kanojila said five more markets
would be added by the end of the current quarter.) Two levels of service—$8 and $12—get the
subscriber app-based access to a server fed presumably by individual antennas
assigned to said subscriber.
The antennas are arranged to pick up over-the-air signals in Aereo’s respective
markets. In this way, Aereo says it is not violating copyright law because it
is enabling an private, rather than a public, performance. Copyright now
governing TV content is predicated on the definition of public performance. User
access to remotely stored content was deemed a private performance under Cablevision
, a case won by the cable operator
to provide server-based remote DVR service to subscribers.
This week’s investment round was led by IAC, Barry Diller’s Internet empire.
Gordon Crawford and Himalaya Capital Management, as well as existing investors
Highland Capital Partners, FirstMark Capital and others joined.