A television seen on June 12, 2009, just before all publicly broadcasting TV stations shut off their analog signals and switched to digital. (File/UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo
Aereo notches a win against another broadcaster battling to stop the online streaming TV service.
Hearst Stations Inc., operator of WCVB-TV near Boston, sued Aereo in July arguing the company violates copyrights by capturing signals and sending them to customers without permission.
Hearst, based in New York, owns 29 broadcast stations across the country. The company requested a pretrial injunction against Aereo, arguing that their major revenue sources include advertising and fees paid for the right to resell programming.
But U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston ruled that "Hearst has not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits nor the requisite irreparable harm" required for an injunction.
"When you comply not only with the letter but the spirit of the law, justice will prevail," Aereo founder and Chief Executive Officer Chet Kanojia said after the ruling.
"Today’s victory belongs to the consumer, and today’s decision makes clear that that there is no reason that consumers should be limited to 1950s technology to access over-the-air broadcast television," Kanojia said.
Broadcast networks, including CBS and Walt Disney Co.’s ABC, sued Aereo in New York in March 2012. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan rejected the networks’ motion for an injunction that would have shut down the service, and a panel of New York appeals judges upheld that ruling in April.
The victories are good news for Aereo, as the service continues its expansion beyond a handful of major U.S. cities to reach customers eager for an online alternative to cable for local broadcasts. Aereo also announced its Android app will be available for download in the Google Play store October 22.