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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NY appeals court OKs Aereo live television service

NEW YORK – An Internet company offering inexpensive live broadcast television online doesn’t violate U.S. copyright law, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The 2-to-1 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for Aereo Inc.’s expansion of a service that had been limited to New York City until this year. The company has announced plans to expand to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and 18 other U.S. markets. Broadcasters including Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and others had sued, saying Aereo copies and retransmits their programs as they are first aired without permission. ...

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NEW YORK – An Internet company offering inexpensive live broadcast television online doesn’t violate U.S. copyright law, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The 2-to-1 ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for Aereo Inc.’s expansion of a service that had been limited to New York City until this year. The company has announced plans to expand to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and 18 other U.S. markets. Broadcasters including Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC and others had sued, saying Aereo copies and retransmits their programs as they are first aired without permission.

The ruling came in a preliminary stage of the case in federal court in Manhattan. More evidence must be presented to a lower court judge before she issues a final decision. Other legal challenges have been filed elsewhere against a budding industry that stands to challenge the dominance of cable or satellite companies that offer their licensed programming to consumers.

The appeals court agreed the service does not appear to violate copyright law because subscribers are assigned to their own tiny antennas at Aereo’s Brooklyn data center. The antennas grab free over-the-air broadcasts and Aereo streams the video to subscribers over the Internet.