Today marks the latest step in Aereo’s legal battle with major broadcast networks like Fox, ABC, CBS, and NBC, with the live TV streaming/DVR service filing a declaratory judgement action against CBS, in particular.
The company is asking that the court prevent CBS from suing Aereo in every district to which it expands, as CBS has twice threatened to sue Aereo in Boston, where it will launch on May 15.
After losing a preliminary injunction in the Second Circuit of New York, the major broadcast networks have been eyeing other routes to shut down the fledgling TV startup, which rents out mini-antennas to its users to watch live or recorded television from thirty OTA broadcast channels on any device.
It’s shaking up the way we think about TV, and the broadcast networks aren’t pleased.
The major court battle is still underway after the favorable ruling for Aereo with the preliminary injunction, and meanwhile Aereo continues to expand. The service is headed to Boston on May 15, and this has prompted quite the reaction from CBS.
Les Moonves, CBS CEO, said on stage last week that CBS would consider going to cable if it couldn’t shut down Aereo in the courtroom. He also threatened to continue going after them in the courts.
And before that, a PR representative for CBS tweeted this in response to Aereo’s expansion into Boston.
Here’s what Aereo’s spokesperson, Virginia Lam, had to say about it:
In response to the CBS companies’ repeated threats to sue Aereo in every market that it enters, Aereo today filed a declaratory judgment action in New York naming CBS, its Boston affiliates and its wholly owned and operated companies located in Aereo’s initial expansion markets. In 2012, CBS and other broadcasters chose to file copyright lawsuits against Aereo in the federal courts in New York. Last year, the trial court denied CBS’s and the other broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction against Aereo; and, last month, the appeals court affirmed that decision. The fact that CBS did not prevail in their efforts to enjoin Aereo in their existing federal lawsuit does not entitle them to a do-over in another jurisdiction. We are hopeful that any such efforts to commence duplicative lawsuits to try to seek a different outcome will be rejected by the courts.
The filing names CBS as well as their owned and operated affiliates, and covers expansion cities. The complaint argues that a decision was already made by the Second Circuit that Aereo was not guilty of infringement and should not be shut down with a preliminary injunction. Therefore, “following” Aereo around the nation as it expands and leveling the same action against them from court to court would be “improper,” according to Aereo.
In the end, these rulings will define the success – or failure – of Aereo and could ultimately a battle of the wallets as litigation grows and becomes more expensive.
Here’s the full filing: