The streaming service had better have a lot of lawyers lined up. CBS chief Les Moonves told analysts today that when Aereo expands from its first market in New York “we’ll sue them again” in different jurisdictions. “We’ll follow it.” Aereo plans to offer its service in Boston beginning this month, and add 21 other cities by year end. CBS and other broadcasters have said they might move their stations to pay TV if the courts — beginning in New York — reject their claim that Aereo infringes on their copyrights when it streams their over-the-air programming without payment. Aereo says it merely leases antennas and streaming capabilities to consumers so they can exercise their right to watch free, over-the-air TV. Moonves says he doesn’t think CBS will have to go nuclear because “we’re going to win the case legally.” He adds, though, that CBS could make the shift with little effort. “It would only be in markets where the courts said Aereo could exist.” And CBS wouldn’t have to change agreements with local affiliates. They’d move to pay TV and maintain relationships with CBS “as they are now.” Despite his saber-rattling, Moonves says that Aereo “really has gotten way too much attention. We’re not losing sleep over it. It’s an insignificant player.” The broadcaster also denies that its recent investment in Syncbak — another company that streams local TV programming — was a response to Aereo. Syncbak “preserves the current ecosystem,” CFO Joe Ianniello says. If consumers want to access broadcast TV via tablets and mobile devices then “we want to make sure we have an ability to deliver it that way.”
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