Once again the Aereo legal roller coaster has whipped up after a steep downward turn. Less than a week after being slapped with a 6-state injunction, the Barry Diller-backed streaming service today has won a 14-day reprieve …
Just more than two months to the day after broadcasters petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a denied injunction against the Barry Diller-backed streaming service, Aereo today responded with an unexpected battle cry of “bring it on”. “We have decided to not oppose the broadcasters’ petition for certiorari before the United States Supreme Court. While 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”, said Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia today as the company filed a brief (read it here) with the Court. “We want this resolved on the merits rather than through a wasteful war of attrition”. Since Aereo’s 2011 launch, broadcasters have insisted in various jurisdictions and legal actions that the company is breaking the law by transmitting their shows to its Internet subscribers without paying a license fee. Today’s 31-page response and lack of objection to the broadcaster’s petition now raises the stakes to a winner-take-all proposition.
Just over two months to the day that Hearst-owned WCVB-TV was denied its preliminary injunction motion against the Barry Diller-backed streaming service, the Boston ABC affiliate has began its predictable appeal. “Simply put, this case affects the very future of over-the-air broadcasting as we know it,” says the distinctly not understated 160-page appeal made Monday to the First Circuit (read it here). As others have argued about Aereo in other cases, part of their latest copyright argument against the service is that Massachusetts-based federal District Judge Nathaniel Gorton didn’t know what he was talking about in his October 8 order. “In denying WCVB’s public performance argument, the district court failed to engage in any independent analysis and appears to have relied exclusively on the reasoning of a Second Circuit case, which has been harshly criticized by copyright scholars and had not been followed by any other court outside that circuit,” asserts the filing. This week’s latest Aereo legal action comes as Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal, WNET, Fox, and Univision await to learn if the Supreme Court will hear their potentially game changing October 11 submitted petition to review a 2012 ruling not to shut Aereo down pending a trial. It also comes as Aereo announced plans to expand to new markets the likes of Detroit and Denver and has been slapped with a second injunction motion in Utah.
The IAC chief provided the only hint of drama today at the Library of American Broadcasting’s “Giants of Broadcasting” awards luncheon in NYC. Everyone wondered how Barry Diller — one of today’s 11 honorees — would deal with the fact that he supports Aereo. Most in the audience consider the streaming service to be illegal, and a threat. The IAC chief didn’t flinch: “It’s especially nice that I get this honor when many people in this room are suing me,” he said. He added, in jest, that “after you’re accused of stealing a few times, you get a little sensitive.” The former ABC exec, and creator of Fox Broadcasting, gently chided broadcasters as they demand rising fees from cable and satellite companies that retransmit their signals — and threaten to pull their best shows from the airwaves if courts support Aereo, which streams their programming without their permission. “I always believed broadcasters should have a second revenue stream” in addition to advertising, Diller said. But they need to be sensitive to the fact that “there are people who can’t afford cable or satellite.” He added that he’s glad he became a broadcaster years ago when it was clear that the industry should support the public interest — “values that were separate from competition, separate from business.” Still, he says, local broadcasting will endure and TV stations are “one of the great buys.”
With just days to go before broadcasters are likely to take Aereo to the Supreme Court, a federal judge has denied Hearst-owned Boston-station WCVB-TV a preliminary injunction motion against the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. “The Court finds that Hearst has made a minimal showing of irreparable harm that is an insufficient basis for entering a preliminary injunction in its favor,” said District Judge Nathaniel Gorton. “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’,” he adds in the October 8 order (read it here). As one part of its argument, Hearst had hoped that the Massachusetts-based court would see the merits of the almost nationwide injunction that a federal D.C. court had hit fellow streaming service FilmOnX with in September. With that now not happening, the long and the short of it means that this case will go forward with the multi-city Aereo still available in the Boston area showing the ABC affiliate’s programming. “Today’s decision, coupled with the decisions in favor of Aereo in the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals shows that when you comply not only with the letter, but the spirit of the law, justice will prevail,” said Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia in a statement today. The decision wasn’t a total win for Aereo as the service was denied its motion to transfer the case to the Southern district of New York, where it has had legal success in the past.
We knew that they were going to be joined at the legal hip soon enough, but that was really fast. One day after a federal court in D.C gave broadcasters an almost nationwide injunction against streaming service FilmOn X, the Hearst-owned Boston station WCVB-TV made damn sure that the judge in its suit against the Barry Diller-backed Aereo knew about that victory and the legal logic behind it. “Although the defendant in that case is different, the Court expressly assumed that the services and technology used by that defendant were, for all relevant purposes, the same as Aereo’s services and technology,” said the September 6 bullet point notice from the ABC affiliate (read it here). “The Court expressly rejected the argument, also asserted by Aereo here, that the use of multiple, individual transmissions rendered performances private,” added the three-page filing which was accompanied by the D.C. District Court opinion on Alki David-owned FilmOn X. WCVB-TV filed a copyright infringement suit and sought an injunction against Aereo in Boston in early July. The two have been throwing filings back and forth since with a hearing on the initial suit and the injunction scheduled for next week in Massachusetts federal court.
The battle of Boston continues. Just more than two weeks after Aereo slammed Hearst-owned WCVB-TV for its July 10 copyright suit and injunction request against the Barry Diller-backed streaming video service, the plaintiff has returned fire. In a 12-page reply (read it here) filed Friday in federal court in Massachusetts, the ABC affiliate says Aereo “engages in a technological shell game to avoid the plain wording of the Copyright Act.” Last week’s filing once again asks the court to grant a preliminary injunction shutting Aereo down in Boston, where it debuted at the end of May. In its August 7 opposition to the initial complaint, Aereo said that it is not infringing anyone’s copyright but simply providing an antenna and remote DVR service to customers for broadcasts that consumers already get for free. The streaming service also noted that the claims of WCVB-TV were very similar in nature and kind to the unsuccessful NYC-based attempt by broadcasters that the Second Circuit affirmed in April. That case is now back in District Court while Aereo has expanded from its first site in NYC to Boston, Atlanta, Utah, Chicago and Houston, Dallas and Miami next month.
Nearly a month after WCVB-TV filed a copyright infringement suit and sought an injunction against the Barry Diller-backed streaming video service, the much litigated Aereo says the Hearst-owned station has its facts wrong. “Hearst cannot claim harm from consumer use of individual antennas because consumers are entitled to use them. Further, Hearst has not alleged (much less demonstrated) any current harm or concrete future harm. It alleges only the possibility of future harm. Such speculations cannot warrant the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction.” says the company’s memorandum in opposition filed on August 7 (read it here). “In contrast, the harm to Aereo if an injunction issued would be devastating and irreparable,” adds the Massachusetts federal court filing seeking a denial of Heart’s request for a preliminary injunction
“Those two channels are covering political news. We’re covering politics and much more,” Jeff Zucker said today of Fox News and MSNBC. “Our competition now is two political channels that have actually left most of the actual news coverage to the side,” he also said. The CNN chief was appearing Wednesday with IAC chair Barry Diller at this year’s D11 conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes. “News is how you define it, we define it broadly as news and information. We’re expanding the audience that is watching CNN. In order to be successful, we need to bring new viewers,” he added stressing that elements of CNN programming have more in common now with Discovery and Nat Geo than FNC and MSNBC. “The key to us is to make CNN essential on whatever platform it is on,” Zucker noted. He added that his cable news rivals “do a good job” at what they cover.
“Protecting the brand is the key and one of the things I’ve been so warmed by is how strong and vibrant the CNN brand continues to be even when their ratings have not been what they used to be,” Zucker responded to a question from the audience about some of the less than hard news stories the network has covered since he took over. “I don’t think that hurt the CNN brand, he said of the network’s extensive coverage of the crippled Carnival Triumph cruise liner earlier this year. Zucker also was on the defensive about errors that CNN have made under his watch. “We made a mistake in Boston and we corrected it within 45 minutes of airing. The Boston Globe, who I think will probably win the Pulitzer Prize for their Boston coverage, didn’t correct for hours,” he said of the cable news network’s incorrect on-air assertion that an arrest had been made in the Boston Marathon bombing case.
“I got seduced into Newsweek,” said Barry Diller today about his plan to sell the new magazine brand. “We started Daily Beast and it worked really well and we built up nice audiences. But we somehow …
Looks like the streaming of network TV is about to end in Washington DC. Less than a week after ABC, NBC and Fox filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in federal court in DC against Alki David‘s FilmOn and his Aereokiller service, the media industry provocateur says he’s pulling the broadcasters from his streaming service. “To avoid more inane lawsuits and one that is clearly rigged, we have decided to take down the Major Broadcasters in Washington DC and replace them with Independent stations. Something we are considering doing all across the country,” David said today in an open letter to broadcasters. David offers no date for when he will pull the networks from his service or any timeline. The lawsuit filed by the three networks on May 23 asked the court for an injunction to stop FilmOn and Aereokiller from being able to stream their local programming online.
The freewheeling head of FilmOn has to stop using names including Aereokiller and BarryDriller.com for his broadcast streaming service according a settlement overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins. The …
Les Moonves is out to get Aereo by any means necessary, but he “doesn’t lose sleep over it,” the CBS Corp president and CEO told the Milken Institute’s Global Conference today. “Barry Diller has done what he likes to do, disrupt things,” Moonves added. However, the CBS chief did say that if the situation couldn’t be resolved in the courts, he is more than willing to take CBS to cable. “We can do it in a few days. If we go to cable, if we are forced to, then about 10% of America will not get our signal and I don’t think they will like that,” Moonves said Tuesday. The CBS chief said that with around 2,000 subscribers in NYC, the “illegal” Aereo won’t hurt the network but that he still intends to shut them down. “We will go after them in the courts and if that doesn’t work there are other remedies. There are financial remedies; there are congressional remedies.” On Monday at the conference, IAC CEO Diller said that CBS and the other broadcasters suing Aereo want Congress to save them if their copyright infringement suits fail. Fox and Univision have also threatened to move to cable if Aereo prevails.