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Streaming TV Site Wins One in FOX Lawsuit

homepageMMSV5As our sister site TVNewser reported, a judge has given a partial victory to TV archiving and streaming site TVEyes.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled the site’s keyword search function falls under fair use doctrine after FOX sued the site last year.

A Fox News spokesperson says the network will fight on: “The Court expressly said that it required more information to decide whether TVEyes’ other features — including allowing video clips to be archived, downloaded, emailed, and shared via social media — were fair use.”

The Court has called for another hearing on that part of the case on October 3. Mediabistro sites TVNewser and TVSpy use TVEyes extensively.

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Federal Court Rejects Aereo’s Plea to Operate as Cable System

aereoA federal court has rejected Aereo’s appeal to continue operating as a cable company, The Washington Post reports:

If the shuttered streaming video company wants to keep fighting for its survival, procedural reasons require that it do so at the district court level, officials said in a document filed Thursday.

The decision is a win for broadcasters, who had sought a ban on Aereo from the beginning. Initially, the district court decided against an injunction. But a ruling from the Supreme Court earlier this summer reversed that decision. Now the appellate court, following procedure, has also followed suit. Aereo declined to comment; a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How significant is this move? Seeing as Aereo had already voluntarily shut its doors after the Supreme Court verdict, a preliminary injunction doesn’t mean much for the company operationally. But the Second Circuit is effectively telling Aereo that if it wants to argue that it’s a cable company only for the purposes of copyright law — and therefore qualified to pay lower royalties — it’s currently making the argument to the wrong people.

Copyright Office: Aereo Not a Cable Company

aereoA week after Aereo said it would seek to continue operations “as a cable system,” the U.S. Copyright Office has told the streaming TV service that it does not qualify as a cable company under terms of the Copyright Act, CNBC reports:

“In the view of the Copyright Office, internet retransmissions of broadcast television fall outside the scope of the Section 111 license,” the Copyright Office wrote in the letter dated July 16.

The office added that it would not refuse Aereo’s filings outright, but rather would accept them provisionally since the company’s case is still before the courts.

A spokeswoman for Aereo declined to comment on the ruling, but noted that the Copyright Office provisionally accepted the company’s application.

Aereo Intends to Continue ‘As a Cable System’

aereo antennaeIn a letter filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court of New York, Aereo said it plans to go forward as a cable company.

“The Supreme Court’s holding that Aereo is a cable system under the Copyright Act is significant because, as a cable system, Aereo is now entitled to the benefits of the copyright statutory license pursuant to the Copyright Act,” the letter said. “Aereo is proceeding to file the necessary statement of account and royalty fees.”

Aereo argued before the Supreme Court that it was not a cable company, and therefore should not be required to pay retransmission fees to the broadcast networks. The Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the broadcast networks.

“This has been a challenging journey for our team, but your support has continued to lift and propel us forward. We remain committed to building great technologies that create real, meaningful alternatives for consumers,” Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said in a statement.

Aereo CEO: ‘We Have Decided to Pause Our Operations Temporarily’

aereoIn a letter to subscribers sent Saturday, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said the streaming TV service is taking a “pause” as they “consult with the court and map out our next steps” in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court loss:

On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision in favor of Aereo, dealing a massive setback to consumers.

As a result of that decision, our case has been returned to the lower Court. We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps. You will be able to access your cloud-based antenna and DVR only until 11:30 a.m. ET today.

All of our users will be refunded their last paid month. If you have questions about your account, please email support@aereo.com or tweet us @AereoSupport.

Read the full letter after the jump. Read more

What’s Next For Aereo?

Aereo_iPadThe Associated Press breaks down the questions raised by yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in the Aereo case, including the all-important one: what’s next for the streaming television service now that the High Court has sided with the broadcasters?

Although the Supreme Court expressed its thinking on the law, it’s the lower court that must issue a preliminary injunction stopping the service, as requested by broadcasters. That could take a few weeks. It’s not guaranteed that the lower court will halt Aereo’s operations, but it’s very likely.

Once an injunction is issued, broadcasters must prove copyright infringement during a trial. Because it’s now likely that broadcasters will ultimately prevail, Aereo might simply decide to shut down. Even then, broadcasters might still decide to pursue the case and seek damages, possibly as a message to future entrepreneurs contemplating video services that don’t involve licenses.

Although Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia has previously said there’s “no plan” for the streaming service in the event of a Supreme Court loss, his statement yesterday said the company’s “work is not done.”

“We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world,” he said.

Les Moonves on Aereo Ruling: ‘It’s a Very Good Day For Our Future’

CBS CEO Les Moonves appeared on Bloomberg TV this afternoon to respond to this morning’s Aereo ruling. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the streaming television service was illegally rebroadcasting content from the major broadcast networks, including CBS.

“All that’s important here is that broadcasters and cable content companies and everyone who’s involved with the content producing business gets paid appropriately for their content,” Moonves said. “And that somebody can’t come and take that content, charge for it, and not pay us back for that content.  So it’s a very good day for our future.” Watch:

Aereo CEO: Supreme Court Ruling Sends ‘Chilling Message to the Technology Industry’

aereo ceo chet kanojiaAereo CEO Chet Kanojia has released a statement on the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in favor of the broadcasters:

Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is a massive setback for the American consumer. We’ve said all along that we worked diligently to create a technology that complies with the law, but today’s decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter. This sends a chilling message to the technology industry.  It is troubling that the Court states in its decision that, ‘to the extent commercial actors or other interested entities may be concerned with the relationship between the development and use of such technologies and the Copyright Act, they are of course free to seek action from Congress.’ (Majority, page 17) That begs the question: Are we moving towards a permission-based system for technology innovation?

Consumer access to free-to-air broadcast television is an essential part of our country’s fabric. Using an antenna to access free-to-air broadcast television is still meaningful for more than 60 million Americans across the United States. Read more

Barry Diller on Aereo Ruling: ‘We Did Try, But Now it’s Over’

barry dillerAereo investor Barry Diller is weighing in on the Supreme Court’s Aereo ruling, saying the decision in favor of the broadcasters is “a big loss.”

“I do think it’s a big loss for consumers wanting an alternative to the bundle,” he told CNBC’s Becky Quick. “We did try, but now it’s over.”

Diller has previously said that Aereo has no path forward in the event of a Supreme Court loss.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the broadcasters in Wednesday’s decision. Broadcast stocks were up sharply on the news.

Investors Take Stock in Broadcasters After Aereo Ruling

BroadcastStocks

Following the Supreme Court ruling on Aereo, in which the high court ruled the service violates the broadcasters’ copyrights by taking the signals for free, shares of publicy-traded broadcasting companies shot up. Nexstar which owns more than 70 stations across the country jumped +15% on the news. Sinclair, which owns stations representing more than 38% of the U.S., shot up +14% and CBS Corp. which owns 29 TV stations, as well as the CBS network, was up +5% at one point this morning. Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Gannett also saw gains.

Paul Clement, who was the attorney for the broadcasters in the case writes, “Today’s decision is a victory for consumers. The Court has sent a clear message that it will uphold the letter and spirit of the law just as Congress intended.”

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