Aereo suffered its first major legal setback last week when a federal judge in Utah issued an injunction that would block the company from operating in some Western states. Aereo has appealed the ruling, which won't take effect for two weeks. The developments come as the broadcast networks lodged their arguments against Aereo with the U.S. Supreme Court and as Aereo set an early March date for introducing service in Austin, Texas.
U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball issued a 14-day stay of injunction against Aereo, allowing the company to keep offering services in Utah and Colorado while it asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to weigh in on the issue. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to sort out some of these questions by June.
Though judges in different jurisdictions have disagreed on whether Aereo's technology violates U.S. copyright law, Kimball wrote that he found the broadcasters' arguments more persuasive. "Plaintiffs, not Aereo, have demonstrated a clear likelihood of success on the merits," Kimball wrote. He denied a broader stay of the injunction Aereo requested, saying the company would not suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is left in place and then eventually overturned.
Until Kimball's Feb. 19 injunction, Aereo had enjoyed a string of victories in federal courts in New York, and it managed to claim a victory when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case at the request of the TV broadcasters.
Meanwhile, Aereo said it will begin offering its service in Austin, Texas, beginning March 3. And in an initial brief before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, TV broadcasters made their case for why the high court should overturn a series of legal rulings in New York that has allowed Aereo to keep expanding.
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