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CBS Statement Might Boost Aereo

19 Feb, 2014 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – CBS chief Les Moonves is learning firsthand that what you say can be used in court against you.

Moonves reported last week CBS expects to hit its long-term revenue projection, regardless of whether the Supreme Court allows Aereo, the over-air TV company, to continue operating. Aereo now says that Moonves' statement shows that Aereo doesn't pose a risk of “irreparable harm” – which is one of the factors courts examine when deciding whether to issue injunctions.

Aereo filed a transcript of the earnings call with U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball in Utah, which is one of the locales where Aereo is facing a lawsuit by broadcasters. Kimball heard arguments last week about whether to temporarily ban Aereo from operating in six Western states.

Cases against Aereo in New York and Boston are on hold pending the Supreme Court decision due in June. Aereo has asked for the Utah case to be stayed, but broadcasters are pressing for an immediate order from the court to shutter Aereo.

The Barry Diller-backed Aereo has installed thousands of small antennas that capture over-the-air broadcast signals so consumers can stream shows to iPhones and iPads. Broadcasters say the start-up infringes copyright by retransmitting shows without a license.

But Aereo argues the streams don't require licenses because they are “private” performances, made on an antenna-to-user basis.

Aereo won preliminary courtroom victories in New York and Boston, where judges refused to shutter the service before trial. But broadcasters have prevailed in California and Washington, D.C., where judges ordered FilmOn X to stop streaming copyrighted programs.

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