Aereo Asks Judge to Dismiss TV Networks’ Copyright Suit

Aereo Inc., the Barry Diller-backed online TV service, asked a federal judge to dismiss copyright infringement claims by the broadcast TV networks, which failed to persuade an appeals court to shut down its operation.

Aereo yesterday requested judgment without a trial from U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in New York on the ground that the federal appeals court ruled that the service didn’t violate the networks’ right to public performance of its programming, which requires a license.

Broadcasters including Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC, Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC and CBS Corp. (CBS) unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York to overturn Nathan’s order denying a preliminary injunction that would have put New York-based Aereo out of business.

The networks sued Aereo in March 2012, claiming that it infringed copyrights by capturing their over-the-air signals and by retransmitting the programming to subscribers on computers and smartphones. Aereo’s transmissions are public performances and require licenses, they said. Its service would devalue their programming and cut viewership, jeopardizing revenue from advertisers and pay-TV providers, according to the networks.

Last week Aereo sued CBS to prevent the network from attempting to shut down the service in cities other than New York. Since the appeals court ruling on April 1, Aereo announced plans to expand its service to Boston and Atlanta.

The TV networks have petitioned the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to review the decision last month by two of three judges who heard arguments in the case.

The cases are American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, 1:12-cv-01540, and WNET v. Aereo, 1:12-cv-01543, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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