Aereo, Broadcasters Battle On In Court

Broadcasters Say Bankruptcy Sale Should Be Stayed, Modified
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Aereo and broadcasters continued their legal wrangling this week over the fate of the service.

There are actually at least two legal venues, a bankruptcy court where Aereo is trying sell its assets or restructure its business, and a district court where broadcasters are suing Aereo for copyright infringement.

There was a flurry of filings as broadcasters, led by Fox, told the court Aereo should not be able to wipe some servers because they could hold evidence in the infringement suit and want the bankruptcy sale stayed until copyright issues are settled.

Broadcasters told the bankruptcy court that it should hold off on setting a schedule for the asset sale or at least modify it to protect broadcasters' interests given that the copyright litigation and bankruptcy cases are "substantially intertwined."

The district court presiding over the copyright case enjoined Aereo from retransmitting broadcasters programming while it decided whether it should make that permanent and extend it to delayed transmissions in addition to live streaming.

Aereo has signaled it might consider restructuring in addition to an asset sale. If Aereo tries to restructure, said the broadcasters in a court filing this week, "the delayed retransmission issue must be addressed to ensure that Aereo’s post-confirmation operations do not violate the law and to demonstrate that its plan is feasible."

If it sells the assets to someone else, it should not be able to evade the issue of whether time-delayed retransmissions are lawful in order to attract a buyer willing to gamble on whether the court finds the conduct infringing.

Read the full story at B&C.