The fledgling company that plans to stream broadcast TV signals tells the U.S. District Court in New York today that it merely wants to offer customers “the convenience of locating at a remote facility the type of equipment that they could otherwise have and use at home” — namely an antenna, a DVR, and a Slingbox. That challenges the claim that broadcasters including Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal made that Aereo’s service would infringe on their copyrights. Aereo, whose backers include Barry Diller, wants to begin signing up customers in New York City on Wednesday — and says that it has not yet received a cease and desist letter or order not to launch. Subscribers would pay $12 a month to receive local broadcast signals online within the New York area. Aereo would house a separate antenna, about the size of a dime, for each customer. In addition, Aereo would provide the ability to record and watch shows on demand, much like users would have with a DVR. The company says that it isn’t violating broadcaster copyrights because they already transmit their shows over the air for free. Previous court decisions have upheld consumers’ right to record shows for their personal use, and access them at a distance from a remote-DVR. “Aereo has been forthcoming and transparent about its technology and intentions,” it says in its court filing. The broadcasters said, in their initial complaint seeking an injunction, that Aereo isn’t a mere conduit for over-the-air TV. It violates copyrights by encoding TV signals for the Internet and by storing shows “for a period of more than transitory duration.”
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