Broadcasters continue to wage legal warfare to stop the oncoming technology tide, with battles heating up on two fronts: Dish Network’s Hopper and IAC-backed Aereo.
Fox is working to get the courts to take legal action against Dish Network’s Hopper with Sling, which is a set-top box with both ad-skipping and place-shifting technology built in. On Wednesday, Fox filed a notice of appeal to California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee last month denied Fox the injunction it was seeking. Fox is seeking an “en banc” hearing in front of a full panel of judges.
It’s not Fox’s first appearance in front of the court on the issue, although earlier requests applied to different iterations of the service.
Similarly, last month U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in New York denied ABC’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Dish’ AutoHop, a separate set-top box that skips ads but doesn’t “sling” TV programming to smart phones and tablets.
Meanwhile, Aereo defended itself in Salt Lake City where broadcasters are working to stop the roll-out of its service, which streams broadcast signals to subscribers over the Internet for $10 a month.
Broadcasters argue that Aereo is infringing their copyrights by “publicly performing” shows without permission, while Aereo says what it’s doing is perfectly legal.
“A consumer who tunes an individual antenna to access a program, makes an individual copy of a broadcast television program, and then watches that program, does not violate the copyright laws,” Aereo argues in the Utah case. “The entity that provides the device the consumers use to achieve that lawful purpose does not violate the copyright laws either.”
Aereo is petitioning to transfer the Utah lawsuit to the Southern District of New York, where U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan is presiding over a similar case.
So far, broadcasters have lost twice on this issue, in courts in New York and Boston.
Brief Take: Broadcasters might be able to stem the technology tide that threatens their businesses, but history has shown that enterprises fare better when they adapt rather than fight.
[Image courtesy of Engadget]