Having pursued the Barry Diller-backed service through the courts for more than two years and beaten it at the Supreme Court in June, the broadcasters today basically TKO’d Aereo. “Following the Supreme Court’s decision, this Circuit’s law with respect to Aereo’s live or near-live retransmission no longer conflicts with the law of its sister circuits,” Judge Alison Nathan ordered Thursday (read it here). “Plaintiffs are entitled to a nationwide injunction.”
The U.S. District judge in the Southern New York region added in her preliminary injunction, “Therefore, the Court hereby holds that Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction barring Aereo from retransmitting programs to its subscribers while the programs are still being broadcast is GRANTED”. In a way, today’s order is a bit moot as Aereo suspended itself on June 28, three days after the SCOTUS ruled 6-3 that the service violated stations owners’ copyright. Even with Diller saying “it’s over,” since late June, Aereo has tried a variety of ways to get itself back in the game — with little success.
While holding out some thin hope for Aereo in terms of “time-shifted retransmissions,” Nathan’s order and opinion gave ABC, Fox, CBS, NBCUniversal and Telemundo almost everything they have long sought. She also shut down what essentially is the already self-suspended Aereo’s last legal hope. The company had argued that the SCOTUS ruling in June entitled it to cable system status and the compulsory license that comes with that. Nathan said no. “The Supreme Court in Aereo III did not imply, much less hold, that simply because an entity performs publicly in much the same way as a CATV system, it is necessarily a cable system entitled to a compulsory license,” she wrote.
Related: What Is Aereo & How Does It Work?
“Yet again the courts vindicate Fox’s position that you can’t get away with stealing our content,” a Fox spokesperson told me today after the ruling. Said an Aereo spokesperson, “We are reviewing the decision and evaluating our options moving forward.”
Hard to move forward when you’ve been knocked to the ground – again.