Judge strikes down Aereo's 'emergency' attempt to resume service

A New York federal judge was apparently unmoved by a desperate plea from embattled streaming service Aereo, which stated in a filing that the company is "bleeding to death" and requires an "emergency" broadcast retransmission license to stay alive.

On Friday, Aug. 1, U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan denied the streaming service's request. She had the documents stricken from the court's record, ruling that Aereo didn't follow proper procedure in their filing. Then, she ordered the plaintiffs--broadcasters ABC and CBS--to file briefs within the coming two weeks, outlining their requests for an injunction versus Aereo, now that the company is officially classifying itself as a pay-TV operator.

It's only the latest in a string of legal setbacks for New York-based Aereo. The company had been rolling along in the federal judicial system, securing favorable rulings in Nathan's court in 2013.

Then came the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision against the company in late June. Aereo hasn't been able to earn a win since. Last month, the U.S. Copyright Office put on hold the company's request for a statutory retrans license--the essential ingredient Aereo needs to execute its new survival plan. That plan is, essentially, to go with the flow of the Supreme Court ruling, and reclassify itself as a cable operator eligible to pay broadcast retransmission fees.

The Copyright Office deferred making such a classification, pending outcome in Nathan's Manhattan courtroom.

If Aereo is to be taken at its word, it might not have enough time to go through such a legal process, especially one in which it is now playing from behind.

In its since-removed court filing, the company stated that despite the fact that it has suspended its service, it is still losing around $1 million a month. "Unless it is able to resume operations in the immediate future, the company will likely not survive," Aereo's lawyers wrote.

Last week, Aereo's primary investor, Barry Diller's IAC Corp., revealed that it has already taken a write-down on what it put into Aereo.

Shutting down soon after the Supreme Court's June 27 ruling, Aereo was operating in 11 markets and serving around 80,000 customers, providing them with cloud-based, streaming SVOD access to local broadcast stations on a wide assortment of IP devices.

For more:
- read this Bloomberg story
- read this Hollywood Reporter story

Related links:
Barry Diller really is done with Aereo, takes write-down on company
Copyright Office says Aereo isn't cable but will provisionally accept its filings anyway
CBS' Moonves: Aereo never tried to work with us

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