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Aereo TV Files Preemptive Lawsuit Against CBS

6 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Aereo TV May 6 filed a preemptive lawsuit against CBS and its affiliates following comments made by the media company’s CEO and others about expanding litigation against the subscription service that enables users to stream broadcast television programming via mini antennae to portable devices.

Manhattan-based Aereo in March 2012 was sued by major broadcasters claiming copyright infringement and other charges.

In the latest filing in New York Southern District Court, Aereo is asking the court to preemptively rule against CBS in the Boston area and 21 other markets it plans to roll out service.

The action comes after CBS CEO Les Moonves, during a May 1 fiscal call, warned the network would file separate lawsuits against Aereo in any market it offered service.

Aereo filed its counter litigation in the same court that ruled in its favor last summer. Last month, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals denied a preliminary injunction request by broadcasters seeking to reverse the July 2012 decision.

“In response to the CBS companies' repeated threats to sue Aereo in every market that it enters, Aereo today filed a declaratory judgment action in New York naming CBS, its Boston affiliates and its wholly owned and operated companies located in Aereo's initial expansion markets,” Virginia Abrams, VP of communications and government relations, said in a statement. “The fact that CBS did not prevail in their efforts to enjoin Aereo in their existing federal lawsuit does not entitle them to a do-over in another jurisdiction.”

CBS, in response, said Aereo’s latest PR and legal maneuvers do not change the fundamentally illegal nature of its “supposed” business.

“The issue of unauthorized streaming of copyrighted television programming is now being contested in the 2nd Circuit and the 9th Circuit, and wherever Aereo attempts to operate there will be vigorous challenges to its Illegal business model,” the network said in a statement.

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