Streaming OTA video provider Aereo this week saw another major win in their fight against broadcasters looking to shut the service down. Fox network founder Barry Diller started Aereo
trials last year in New York City, the service offering users a $12 a month option for local broadcast television services -- adding an interesting and inexpensive option for those eager to cut the cord. Aereo was immediately sued by the broadcast industry claiming the service violated copyright, though they failed
to get an injunction to shut the service down.
Now Aereo has grabbed another major legal victory. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today upheld lower Disctrict court rulings denying an injunction while shooting down copyright infringement claims yet again. According to the ruling
(pdf), broadcasters "have not demonstrated that they are likely to prevail on the merits of this claim in their copyright infringement action."
A group of broadcasters, including Fox and PBS, immediately issued a statement calling the ruling "a loss for the entire creative community," (even mimes?) adding that "the court has ruled that it is ok to steal copyrighted material and retransmit it without compensation." The suit had seen major, albeit hypocritical, support by Cablevision, who only just managed to beat back myopic broadcasters
themselves in order to offer consumers cloud DVR storage.
Consumer advocates were unsurprisingly more pleased with the ruling. In a statement
, consumer group Public Knowledge called the ruling "a victory for consumer choice and video innovation." "Only in the the world of copyright maximalists do people need to get special permission to watch over-the-air television with an antenna," argued Public Knowledge Senior Staff Attorney John Bergmayer. "Just because 'the Internet' is involved doesn't change this."
The case is far from over, but Aereo certainly must be pleased that they've seen two successive wins in early proceedings.
Rumors have once again bubbled up suggesting that Microsoft has broader television ambitions. Microsoft already has a strong foothold on living rooms via their Xbox 360 console, which provides users with a growing array of video content, though much of it suffers from walled garden-itis
, requiring a traditional cable subscription, Xbox Gold subscription and an ISP that's a Micrsoft partner to access.