We knew that they were going to be joined at the legal hip soon enough, but that was really fast. One day after a federal court in D.C gave broadcasters an almost nationwide injunction against streaming service FilmOn X, the Hearst-owned Boston station WCVB-TV made damn sure that the judge in its suit against the Barry Diller-backed Aereo knew about that victory and the legal logic behind it. “Although the defendant in that case is different, the Court expressly assumed that the services and technology used by that defendant were, for all relevant purposes, the same as Aereo’s services and technology,” said the September 6 bullet point notice from the ABC affiliate (read it here). “The Court expressly rejected the argument, also asserted by Aereo here, that the use of multiple, individual transmissions rendered performances private,” added the three-page filing which was accompanied by the D.C. District Court opinion on Alki David-owned FilmOn X. WCVB-TV filed a copyright infringement suit and sought an injunction against Aereo in Boston in early July. The two have been throwing filings back and forth since with a hearing on the initial suit and the injunction scheduled for next week in Massachusetts federal court. Obviously WCVB-TV is hoping that the outcome of the D.C. case will becomes a localized version of its battle. But there is another precedent they are fighting against: In April, Aereo scored a win of its own in another one of the various legal battles it’s engaged in when the Second Circuit ruled that its streaming of TV to antenna holding subscribers could be interpreted as private performance under copyright law. That case, referred to in WCVB’s notice, is now back in District Court. In the past year, Aereo has expanded from its first site in NYC to Boston, Atlanta, Utah, and this month to Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Miami.
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