Injunction Against Aereo Granted in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY—Judge Dale Kimball of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Utah ruled in favor of broadcasters granting a preliminary injunction against Aereo.

Plaintiffs in the case were Community Television of Utah, LLC; KUTV-TV, FOX Broadcasting Co., and Nexstar Broadcasting.

“The plain language of the 1976 Copyright Act support plaintiffs’ position,” Judge Kimball wrote. “….Throughout the debates on the 1976 Copyright Act, the proponents of no copyright liability argued that broadcast stations offer their programming free over-the-air to the viewing public and cable systems do nothing more than provide technology that allows consumers to do what they can do on their own. Congress resolved the issue by concluding that commercial broadcast retransmission services must obtain copyright licenses and compensate copyright holders. … Congress reached that conclusion because it determined that a commercial enterprise should not be allowed to build a business off the exploitation of copyrighted programming without compensating the owners of that programming.

“Based on the plain language of the 1976 Copyright Act and the clear intent of Congress, this court concludes that Aereo is engaging in copyright infringement of plaintiffs’ programs. Despite its attempt to design a device or process outside the scope of the 1976 Copyright Act, Aereo’s device or process transmits plaintiffs’ copyrighted programs to the public. Accordingly, the court concludes that plaintiffs have met their burden of establishing a likelihood of success on the merits.”

Upon entering the preliminary injunction, Judge Kimball stayed the case pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case involving Aereo and broadcasters. Oral arguments on that case will be held April 22. The injunction applies to the 10th Circuit, which covers the:

District of Colorado
District of Kansas
District of New Mexico
Eastern District of Oklahoma
Northern District of Oklahoma
Western District of Oklahoma
District of Utah
District of Wyoming