Content aggregator Aereo, on a winning streak against broadcasters, has won again — this time in federal court in Massachusetts against Hearst television stations. BUt this fight has gotten really ugly, with All of the netwroks petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene.
Last week was noteworthy for two reasons. First, Federal Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton issued a ruling in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Hearst Stations Inc. d/b/a WCVB-TV v. Aereo, Inc., in favor of Aereo, denying the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the company. Then, on Friday, broadcasters, that include ABC, Comcast NBC, CBS, and Fox sent a petition to appealing a ruling earlier this year by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals (which denied their request to shut down Aereo) that states the previous circuit court's decision is "transforming the industry and threatening the very fundamentals of broadcast television."
In the Mass. decision, Judge Gorton said, “After considering the relevant factors, the Court finds that a preliminary injunction is unwarranted. Hearst has not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits nor the requisite irreparable harm and therefore it is not entitled to that ‘extraordinary and drastic remedy.’”
After a review and analysis of the claims advanced by the Hearst, the Court said that, “Hearst fails to make a sufficient showing that it is likely to prevail on any of [its] claims and therefore this factor weighs against a preliminary injunction in its favor.”
Growing increasingly confident with each favorable fuling, Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia said, “Today’s decision, coupled with the decisions in favor of Aereo in the Southern District of New York (July 11, 2013) and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (April 1, 2013 and July 16, 2013), shows that when you comply not only with the letter, but the spirit of the law, justice will prevail.
“Today’s victory belongs to the consumer and (the court ruling) makes clear that that there is no reason that consumers should be limited to 1950s technology to access over-the-air broadcast television. Using Aereo, a consumer can simply and easily use an individual remote antenna and cloud DVR via the Internet to record and watch-over-the air programs.”
In addition to the Court’s denial of the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the court also denied Aereo’s motion to transfer the case to New York. Whether the Supreme Court agrees to hear the broadacsters' case is yet to be determined and not entirely a certainty.