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Aereo, the service I’m using to access network TV on my iPhone, iPad, and Roku XD, has been sued (twice) by most of the major networks, which claim copyright infringement. (Another claim of unfair competition was thrown out of court last week.) Tomorrow a judge will hear arguments before deciding whether to grant a preliminary injunction against Aereo, which would temporarily shut the service down.
The networks argue that Aereo is violating the Copyright Act by retransmitting their programming “to the public for a fee.” Aereo counters that, no, they are just like traditional rabbit-ear antennas but in the cloud and with a DVR attached. The startup’s three arguments are summarized in its brief:
In their brief, the networks contend that Aereo is splitting semantic hairs:
And that’s the case in a nutshell.