Pando

Aereo uses up another of its nine lives

By Nathaniel Mott , written on October 24, 2014

From The News Desk

It hasn't been Aereo's year.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that the company's service, which allowed its users to record over-the-air broadcasts and watch them on their smartphones, tablets, and other devices, was operating in violation of the Copyright Act of 1976 because it was so similar to cable offerings.

Then the US Copyright Office said in July that the company couldn't receive the compulsory licenses that would allow it to continue operating because -- get this -- it's not a cable company. As Pando's David Holmes explained in a post about the almost-too-absurd-to-be-true situation:

While the US Copyright Office did not deny Aereo’s filings outright, under the rationale that its court case is still ongoing, this appears to be a fittingly absurd end to an absurd product. On one hand, because Aereo behaves like a cable company, its retransmissions violate copyright laws. On the other hand, because the Copyright Office ruled that retransmitting broadcast television over the Internet does not make you a cable company, it is barred from paying for the license needed to avoid running afoul of those same copyright laws. It’s a classic paradox straight out of “Catch-22.”
Aereo has been allowed to continue operations despite these setbacks because it currently exists in a legal limbo. That changed last night, when US District Judge Alison Nathan granted cable companies' request for a temporary restraining order against the service, as Bloomberg reports.

Nathan argued in her decision that Aereo can't be harmed by a temporary injunction because the Supreme Court ruled that its service infringed on cable companies' rights. The Supreme Court's decision continues to hound Aereo no matter what the company tries to do to survive.

So what's Aereo's plan moving forward? According to a spokeswoman's statement to CNET, it's going to be "reviewing the decision and evaluating [its] options moving forward." It made similar statements after all of its previous setbacks -- it's hard not to wonder if the company has finally used up all of its nine lives, or if it's going to mount another quickly-defeated defense.

Either way it looks like the world's most ridiculous startup's days are numbered.

[photo by mhiguera]