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U.S. District Court denies preliminary injunction vs. Aereo, says live TV can be broadcasted to iOS devices

A U.S. district judge has ruled in favor of Aereo in denying a preliminary injunction to broadcasters suing the startup, saying the TV service is allowed to relay live programming to iPhones, iPads and other devices in New York City -- for now.

Judge Alison Nathan said that even though she was sympathetic to broadcasters who find Aereo a threat, the law is on Aereo's side, The Associated Press reports. The lawsuit against Aereo was filed by the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) among others. Judge Nathan's denial of the request for a preliminary injunction gives Aereo some breathing room.

TUAW took a look at Aereo in May, and Mike Rose found the service smooth and easy to use. In the review, Mike wrote that Aereo was getting around the thorny issue of rebroadcasting by ensuring every subscriber got a little piece of NYC real estate -- essentially renting a remote antenna, as Aereo argued in court. Aereo also revealed that it plans to expand, and Nathan said that Aereo's subscriber base has grown from 100 to 3,500 users this year.

Nathan said that even though Aereo's activities would cause harm to broadcasters, a previous appeals court ruling regarding Cablevision's Remote Storage DVR paved the way for Aereo to win this battle. In that case, Cablevision won the right to store DVR content on a remote computer rather than a set-top box. An effort by broadcasters to bring the case before the U.S. Supreme Court failed. The judge described broadcasters' arguments in the current case as "profoundly similar" to those in the Cablevision case.

The judge expects that broadcasters will file an immediate appeal, although normally when a preliminary injunction is denied there are additional steps before an appeal is filed.

[Post amended to note that this is a denial of a preliminary injunction.]

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