Nearly a month after WCVB-TV filed a copyright infringement suit and sought an injunction against the Barry Diller-backed streaming video service, the much litigated Aereo says the Hearst-owned station has its facts wrong. “Hearst cannot claim harm from consumer use of individual antennas because consumers are entitled to use them. Further, Hearst has not alleged (much less demonstrated) any current harm or concrete future harm. It alleges only the possibility of future harm. Such speculations cannot warrant the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction.” says the company’s memorandum in opposition filed on August 7 (read it here). “In contrast, the harm to Aereo if an injunction issued would be devastating and irreparable,” adds the Massachusetts federal court filing seeking a denial of Heart’s request for a preliminary injunction
First launched in NYC last year, Aereo debuted in Boston at the end of May. In addition to the ABC affilate’s July 9 filing, Aereo has been battling the networks in various venues with some success. A point Wednesday’s memo makes. “As noted in Aereo’s motions to transfer and stay this action, the claims filed by Hearst are essentially identical to those previously filed against Aereo in the Southern District of New York by all the major broadcasters,” says the 21-page filing. That action hasn’t worked out so well for ABC NBC, CBS and Univision. The case is now back in district court after the Second Circuit in April affirmed a previous decision that there wasn’t any infringement because each subscriber is assigned an individual antenna. Pre-empting the July move by Hearst, Aereo in May filed a suit in NY court to stop CBS from going after them in Boston and other cities the service intends to start up in over the next year. CBS filed right back to dismiss that particular suit. Already now available in NY, where Time Warner Cable has been suggesting subscribers use the service to watch CBS during the current black out, Atlanta and Boston, Aereo intends to set up shop in Utah on August 19 and in Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Miami next month.