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United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: January 10, 2014
Case #: 13-461
712 F.3d 676
Full Text Opinion: http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/523cd060-3750-49d0-be56-36b70050ab45/4/doc/12-2786_12-2807_complete_opn.pdf

Copyright: Whether a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to paid subscribers over the Internet.

Respondent provides a paid online service which retransmits, or records live broadcast television programs for their subscribers to view over the Internet, without paying any licensing fees.

Petitioner sought a preliminary injunction alleging that Respondent’s conduct violates their public performance right under 17 U.S.C. § 101. The district court denied a preliminary injunction against Respondent, because Petitioner did not satisfy the preliminary injunction factors: that they are likely to succeed on the merits, and that balance of the interest did not tip decidedly in Petitioner’s favor. Respondent argued that their service is a private performance, and that they designed their service to conform with the decision in Cablevision, because their retransmission is made to a limited audience rather than “to the public." The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision. 

Petitioner argues that a preliminary injunction should be granted because they are likely to succeed on the merits, and that the District Court abused their discretion in not granting the preliminary injunction. Petitioner argues that they are likely to succeed on the merits because Congress meant 17 U.S.C. § 101 to interpret "retransmission" as a public performance of copyrighted material. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide whether a company “publicly performs” a copyrighted television program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to paid subscribers over the Internet.