Full Court Denies Broadcaster Aereo Appeal

Service Can Continue To Stream TV Station Signals While Lower Court Weighs Legality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has denied a broadcaster request that the full court review a three-judge panel of that court's April decision not to stop Aereo from delivering broadcast signals over the net while a lower court considers a broadcaster challenge to the service's legality.

The ruling was a succinct denial. "[T]here being no majority favoring in banc review, rehearing in banc is hereby DENIED," the court said. Judges Denny Chin and Richard Wesley, though, issued a lengthy dissent written by Chin, who was the dissenting vote in the panel decision to deny the injunction.

"This decision upends settled industry expectations and established law. It should not be permitted to stand, and the Court should have taken this opportunity to clarify that Cablevision does not provide "guideposts" on how to avoid compliance with our copyright laws. Because it declines to do so, I respectfully dissent."

The court in April upheld a district court denial of an injunction filed by major broadcasters seeking to stop the company from streaming TV station signals to subscribers without permission or payment. The district court has yet to rule on the underlying broadcaster challenge, but the denial of the injunction means Aereo can continue to stream the signals. It also means that if the broadcasters were to lose in the district court, they would face an uphill battle on appeal, at least on the copyright argument.

Fox, a lead broadcaster in the suit, said at press time it was still considering its legal options. “The 2nd circuit’s denial of our request for an ‘en banc’ hearing, while disappointing was not unexpected,” Fox said in a statement. “We will now review our options and determine the appropriate course of action, which include seeking a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court and proceeding to a full trial on the merits of the case.”