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NY Stations Sue Streaming TV Startup Aereo

In a move that surprised no one, stations in New York filed two lawsuits on Thursday against the streaming TV company Aereo.

Aereo, which is backed by Barry Diller’s company IAC, plans to stream TV stations’ content to internet subscribers.  Set to launch on March 14, the company’s service is seen as a boon to so-called cord-cutters as well as an affront to copyright law.

The New York Times reports that the two lawsuits represent all of the major stations in the New York market, where Aereo is set to launch its service.  The company is now offering the service at $12 per month, with a free 30-day trial.

“This case is not about stifling new video distribution technologies, but about stopping a company from violating our copyrights and redistributing our television programming without permission or compensation,” the companies involved in the first lawsuit–Fox, Univision, and PBS–said in a statement.

In a statement defending its service, Aereo likened it to DVR use.

“Consumers are legally entitled to access broadcast television via an antenna and they are entitled to record television content for their personal use.   Innovations in technology over time, from digital signals to Digital Video Recorders (“DVRs”), have made access to television easier and better for consumers,” the company said in a blog post, regarding the lawsuits.  “Aereo provides technology that enables consumers to use their cloud DVR and their remote antenna to record and watch the broadcast television signal to which they are entitled anywhere they are, whether on a phone, a tablet, a television or a laptop.”

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