Aereo plans Utah rollout as legal battles drag on

Aereo said it will expand in Utah next month. The company, which sells an online subscription to local over-the-air broadcast TV stations, has been rolling out its service market by market despite several ongoing legal fights.

Utah, where Aereo plans to begin offering service Aug. 19, represents the westernmost region Aereo has set plans to launch so far. There may be a legal reason for that: Further west, in California, a court case over the legality of Aereo copycat FilmOn has resulted in rulings that are not favorable to Aereo's plans.

FilmOn, which used to call itself Aereokiller, was blocked by a federal judge from operating while a trial over its legality plays out. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled a hearing on that matter at the end of August. If the appeals court upholds the injunction against FilmOn, it could prevent Aereo from expanding in the states covered by the Ninth Circuit. Utah is part of the 10th U.S. Circuit Appeals Court.

Aereo first launched in New York City, and its case in the Southern District of N.Y.'s Federal Courthouse is the furthest along. But as it expands, other parties have sued in new venues as well.

Late last week, Aereo asked a federal judge in Boston to transfer a challenge brought by Hearst's TV station group to New York. "Because Hearst's copyright claims are virtually identical to the pending cases in the Southern District of New York... there is no reason to justify a separate, additional and duplicative action in Boston," Aereo's attorneys argued in a brief filed with that court last week.

For more:
- read the Aereo press release
- read Aereo's arguments to transfer Hearst's case to New York (.pdf)

Related articles:
Aereo might be one step close to Supreme Court review
Aereo sued in Boston