A federal judge in Utah Wednesday blocked local TV streaming service Aereo from operating in the state two months ahead of the expected showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court over the matter.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that the Big Four broadcasters suing to shut down Aereo are likely to ultimately prevail on their copyright claims against the service, and issued a temporary injunction.
Each of the Big Four networks have sued to put a stop to Aereo, which rents out a small antenna to users that transmits broadcast television to multiple devices such as smartphones.
The broadcasters say the IAC-backed startup is illegally retransmitting television; Aereo says it is simply renting remote antennas.
Justice Samuel Alito has recused himself from the case, meaning that only eight justices will hear the oral arguments.
The specific question before the High Court is “whether a company ‘publicly performs’ a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to thousands of paid subscribers over the Internet.”
Oral arguments at the High Court are set for April 22. A ruling is expected sometime in June.
Read More: The Hollywood Reporter
Brief Take: It’s fairly clear at this point that Aereo’s fate rests firmly in the hands of the High Court Justices. It’s just a matter of wait-and-see at this point.