As posted on KSL 5's website:
Please read the full article here: TV-over-Internet service expands to SLC, other markets, despite lawsuits | ksl.comNEW YORK (AP) - The Barry Diller-backed Internet company that challenged cable and satellite TV services by offering inexpensive live television online plans to expand beyond New York City this spring.
In the wake of a federal court ruling that tentatively endorsed its legality, Aereo will bring its $8-a-month service to Salt Lake City and 21 other markets in the U.S., as well as to New York's suburbs. For the past year, the service had been limited to New York City residents as the company fine-tuned its technology and awaited guidance on whether its unlicensed use of free, over-the-air broadcasts amounted to a copyright violation.
A federal judge in New York ruled in July that the service doesn't appear to violate copyright law because individual subscribers are assigned their own, tiny antenna at Aereo's Brooklyn data center, making it analogous to the free signal a consumer would get with a regular antenna at home. Aereo spent the subsequent months selecting markets for expansion and renting space for new equipment in those cities.
"The court decision was the green light in our perspective," CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said in a recent interview at Aereo's sparse offices in a former engine factory in Queens. "This is an opportunity of a lifetime to build up something meaningful to change how people access TV."
Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. Past efforts have typically been rejected by courts as copyright violations. In Aereo's case, the judge accepted the company's legal reasoning, but with reluctance...
I see Aereo's legal position - they are renting antennas, not reselling content. Just consider how many people are unable, for whatever reason, to use an antenna to get local broadcast stations that they are legally entitled to get for free.
Sorry, Dennis. They are renting antennas, NOT selling programs. Wouldn't it be the same as me putting an antenna on my roof and "leasing" it to my next door neighbor? I usually agree with Dennis and the NAB, but not here.If you're selling the program for a fee and not compensating the rights holder for that product, that's fundamentally unfair and violates the copyright law.–Dennis Wharton, NAB spokesman
There is also an article at Mediapost.com that contains this quote from Judge John Gleeson:
In reference to the statement "It's kind of like constructing your business affairs to avoid taxes. Right?", I refer to this quote:"You don't have all these little antennas because it makes any sense," he told Aereo's lawyer, according to the transcript. "It's kind of like constructing your business affairs to avoid taxes. Right?"
MediaPost Publications Aereo Forges Ahead Despite Legal Battles, Practical Hurdles 01/09/2013— Judge Learned Hand, federal appeals court judge, 1934.“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”
I think any station would jump at the chance to have someone provide a free translator for their station, thus increasing their audience. Why is providing a "translator" via internet that much different? Especially here in Utah, where one big stupid mountain can shut down any chance of OTA TV. I do think that providing a DVR service that stores all content on Aereo's servers certainly is a troubling aspect as far as copyrights is concerned, but that issue could be easily resolved by having users record content to their own individual computers.
That said, I would still prefer to get my local TV stations OTA. OTA TV doesn't require me to pay for anything - not internet or "leasing an antenna". OTA doesn't have bandwidth caps, nor does it require me to have a computer or Roku box for each TV in my house.