Aereo is a New York-based start-up that uses mini-antennas to stream live TV to computers, tablets, and smart phones. Unsurprisingly, the company is extremely unpopular with broadcasters, who claim (and we're paraphrasing here) that Aereo is stealing off their shows. A slew of lawsuits have been filed in the past year.
But Aereo has won some notable legal victories: In New York and most recently in Massachusetts, where US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton has ruled this week that Aereo can continue to provide content from Boston television station WCVB.
Hearst, which owns WCVB, an ABC affiliate, had previously sued Aereo for violating its copyrights.
"Today’s victory belongs to the consumer and today’s decision, makes clear that that there is no reason that consumers should be limited to 1950s technology to access over-the-air broadcast television," Aereo founder Chet Kanojia says on the company blog. "Using Aereo, a consumer can simply and easily use an individual remote antenna and cloud DVR via the Internet to record and watch-over-the air programs."
To be clear, Aereo is by no means completely in the clear. It has faced legal hurdles in a handful of states, California among them; meanwhile, Hearst has vowed to contest the Massachusetts ruling.
"We will immediately appeal the court's decision that allows Aereo to continue to engage in a commercial business that unlawfully profits by using WCVB's copyrighted broadcasts and shows. We expect to prevail in this case," a WCVB representative told CNET.
In related news, Aereo says it will launch a free Android app on Oct. 22. Only requirements: a device running Android 4.2 or higher. Oh, and you've got to be based in one of the following areas: New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston, or Dallas.