Aereo, the internet TV start-up that allows New Yorkers to watch live and time shifted content from broadcast networks over the internet, is in the news again as it seeks a declaratory judgment against CBS. Simply put, the Aereo lawsuit asks a federal court in New York to explicitly rule Aereo’s service does not violate broadcasters’ copyrights and that the court’s ruling applies nationwide.
The legal battles between Aereo and broadcasters are likely to continue for years and seem destined for the Supreme Court. (See Figure 1.) While we wait to see what happens in the courts, we think broadcasters and their cable, telco, and satellite distribution partners should do more to undermine Aereo’s value proposition. However, they are hamstrung by broadcasters’ uncertainty about whether to partner with multichannel operators in the age of internet TV or disintermediate them.
Figure 1: U.S. Federal Courts and Aereo Lawsuits