Aereo is set to launch its $12 per month service in New York City on Thursday, allowing customers to access thumb-sized antennas and DVR storage housed in a Brooklyn-area facility in order to watch live and recorded video via their Internet connections. Aereo intends to allow access to a range of smartphones, tablets and other IP-connected devices.
The countersuit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims that Aereo's service merely lets consumers do what they are already legally entitled to do, namely:
- Access free and legally accessible over-the-air television broadcasts using an antenna.
- Create individual, unique recordings for personal use, citing the 1984 Sony Betamax case.
- Record and playback those unique recordings using a remote-located DVR, citing the recently successful Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) case. (See Supremes Stand Clear of RS-DVR Case and Cablevision's Network DVR Debuts in the Bronx .)
Aereo's been beta testing its service since at least the spring of 2011 and notes that the broadcasters "were fully aware of it," the company argued in the countersuit, obtained by Light Reading Cable. Aereo notes that customers use specific, individual antennas that are tuned and used for the duration of that access.
Why this matters
Aereo's plan could be over before it begins if the broadcasters are successful in obtaining an injunction. And the company has some grand plans. Diller, the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI) and a former broadcaster himself, told SXSW attendees on Sunday that Aereo (formerly Bamboom Labs) intends to launch service in as many as 100 cities within a year.
Read up on Aereo.
- Diller Braces for Battle With Broadcasters
- Diller's Aereo Under Legal Attack
- Can Aereo Survive a Broadcaster Assault?
- Aereo Makes Cord-Cutting Bid in NYC
- Q&A With Bamboom's Chet Kanojia
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable