Aereo Files Lawsuit Against CBS In An Effort To Prevent The Network From Suing Them In Boston

Posted May 6, 2013

Aereo has filed a lawsuit against CBS to try and prevent the network from filing an additional lawsuit against them.  Aereo is a web-based TV service that allows users to watch over-the-air broadcasts.  Several TV networks filed copyright lawsuits against Aereo, deeming that the service is illegal since it distributes their programming without paying royalties.

CBS lost two decisions in New York this year so a CBS spokesperson wrote on Twitter that the network plans to file another lawsuit against Aereo in Boston.  Aereo recently expanded into Boston.

“Last year, the trial court denied CBS and the other broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction against Aereo,” said Aereo in a statement. “Last month, the appeals court affirmed that decision. The fact that CBS did not prevail in their efforts to enjoin Aereo in their existing federal lawsuit does not entitle them to a do-over in another jurisdiction. We are hopeful that any such efforts to commence duplicative lawsuits to try to seek a different outcome will be rejected by the courts.”

Networks feel that if Aereo does not pay royalties to broadcast their content without paying royalties, it would set a very bad precedent.  Cable networks receive large retransmissions fees from cable companies like Comcast, Brighthouse, and AT&T.  CBS and Fox have both threatened to pull their shows from the free airwaves if Aereo is allowed to operate their business this way.

Aereo said that they are not redistributing content.  They are simply using the Internet to connect each user to a small TV antenna house at their facilities and then control the antenna to watch over-the-air broadcasts.

Aereo filed their lawsuit at a federal court in New York against CBS and asked for a declaratory judgment.  Aereo wants the court to determine the rights and restrictions of the parties of the original lawsuit that was filed by the broadcasts.  Aereo wants the court to claim jurisdiction on the matter and stop CBS along with other plaintiffs from shopping around for other courts, according to The Verge.