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Aereo Boston Ruling

Aereo Boston Ruling

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Published by jeff_roberts881
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Published by: jeff_roberts881 on Oct 10, 2013
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10/20/2013

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United States District CourtDistrict of Massachusetts HEARST STATIONS INC. d/b/a WCVB-TV,Plaintiff,v. AEREO, INC.,Defendant.))))) Civil Action No.) 13-11649-NMG)))))) MEMORANDUM & ORDER GORTON, J.
This case arises out of a copyright infringement disputebetween two media companies. Plaintiff Hearst Stations Inc.
(“Hearst”), which owns the local television station WCVB
-TV
(“WCVB”), alleges that defendant Aereo, Inc. (“Aereo”) is
intercepting its television signals and converting its programsinto a different format for retransmitting over the internetwithout compensating WCVB. That, says plaintiff, infringes
WCVB’s exclusive rights under the Copyright Act.
Pending before the Court are
Hearst’s m
otion for apreliminary injunction (Docket No. 4) and
Aereo’s motion
s totransfer (Docket No. 20) and stay proceedings while the Courtconsiders its motion to transfer (Docket No. 23). For thereasons that follow, all three motions will be denied.
Case 1:13-cv-11649-NMG Document 72 Filed 10/08/13 Page 1 of 20
 
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I.
 
Background 
 
 A. Hearst and WCVB-TV 
Hearst is a Nevada corporation with a principal place ofbusiness in New York, New York. It owns 29 broadcast stationsthroughout the country, including WCVB, a Boston-area televisionstation with a main studio in Needham, Massachusetts thatbroadcasts over Channel 5. WCVB operates under a license fromthe Federal Communications Commission which allows it tobroadcast over the air and requires it to provide content suchas closed captioning and an emergency alert system.Hearst claims that WCVB creates, produces, owns, broadcastsand distributes more than 43 hours of original programming everyweek and has been recognized nationally for the high quality ofits local programming. It alleges that WCVB spends considerableamounts of money, time, energy and creativity on producingoriginal programming and building the infrastructure that allowsit to transmit and di
stribute the programming. WCVB’s two main
sources of revenue are commercial advertising and fees paid by
other companies for the right to retransmit and resell WCVB’s
signal and it hopes to profit in the future from making itsprogramming available over the Internet.
Case 1:13-cv-11649-NMG Document 72 Filed 10/08/13 Page 2 of 20
 
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B. Aereo
Aereo is a New York corporation. Hearst alleges that
Aereo’s
principal office is in Boston but Aereo submits that itsprincipal place of business is in Long Island City, New York.
Aereo uses antenna and digital video recording (“DVR”)
technology to transmit over-the-air television broadcasts overthe internet to its fee-paying subscribers. The technology
allows users to watch programming “live” (with a few second
delay) or to record it for viewing at a later time.In either case, when a user elects to watch a program, anantenna that is assigned exclusively to that user for that timeperiod intercepts the signal as the program is broadcast over-the-air and transmits it to the us
er’s designat
ed space on
Aereo’s hard drive.
Aereo has installed banks of small antennasthroughout the Boston area for this purpose.Next, Aereo
’s system converts the signal from its original
format to a different digital format that allows the user toaccess the program over the internet. It then generates threecopies of the program, each at a different
“quality
rate
,” to
enable recording and rewinding and to allow each user to choosethe copy most compatible with his or her internet connection.When a user elects to watch a
program “live,”
at least onecopy of the program is stored in a user-
specific “directory” onAereo’s
hard drive until the user finishes watching. Users who
Case 1:13-cv-11649-NMG Document 72 Filed 10/08/13 Page 3 of 20

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