Aereo won another incremental legal battle, but the development could set up a bigger showdown over the copyright law interpretation underlying its operations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declined to rehear an appeal sought by major broadcasters Tuesday.
A smaller panel of judges on the court had already upheld a lower federal judge's ruling to allow Aereo to keep operating while a trial over its legality proceeds. The broadcasters had sought an injunction during the trial.
"The Second Circuit's denial of our request for an 'en banc' hearing, while disappointing was not unexpected. We will now review our options and determine the appropriate course of action, which may include seeking a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court and proceeding to a full trial on the merits of the case," a spokesman for Fox said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
Even if the case does not reach the Supreme Court, Aereo's legal battles are far from over. It still must defend itself against charges in New York and Boston that its services violate broadcasters' copyrights in those markets.
Additionally, a lawsuit against Aereo copycat FilmOn--a company that at one point in time called itself Aereokiller--is proceeding in California. According to court documents, a hearing before a panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled for Aug. 27 in Pasadena, Calif. And that case could have implications for Aereo's ability to operate in the western states.
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