Judge formally bans Aereo from streaming live TV to devices

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Mariella Moon
October 24th, 2014
In this article: aereo, law, mobilepostcross
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., stands next to a server array of antennas as he holds an antenna between his fingers, in New York.  Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. Past efforts have typically been rejected by courts as copyright violations. In Aereo’s case, the judge accepted the company’s legal reasoning, but with reluctance. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Aereo can no longer relay TV shows to its customers using its teeny-tiny antennas (for now, that is), according to US District Judge Alison Nathan. It's been a while since the Supreme Court decided that the service violates the law by "transmitting performances of copyrighted work to the public," but it's only now that a judge has issued a temporary ban order. For those who've forgotten what it is: Aereo used to stream live or nearly-live programming to its subscribers' phones, laptops or tablets for $8 a month. Each customer is assigned a minuscule antenna of his own (pictured above), which captures shows from the airwaves, as well as a DVR that stores recordings for a later time. Now, though, it's no longer allowed to beam on-air TV shows to people's devices anymore. Even worse, Judge Nathan has refused to acknowledge it as a cable service, which means it can't reinvent itself as one -- even if it's now willing to pay those licensing fees.

Wondering what's next for Aereo? Well, the jury's still out on whether it can record and store programs to be aired at a later time. The judge didn't grant TV networks their request to stop the company from doing so, since they didn't include it as part of their demands when they first filed a lawsuit. She's currently investigating whether she should grant that request, though -- and whether to order a final, permanent ban against Aereo. If you want to know more about the temporary injunction, prepare to pore over 17 pages of legalese before checking out the official court documents.

[Image credit: AP]

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