On Feb. 18, Kimball granted a preliminary injunction to temporarily stop Aereo from operating, ruling that the service violates U.S. copyright law by broadcasting local television signals without paying a transmission fee to broadcasters. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City by four Utah television stations, including KTVX Channel 4, KUCW Channel 30, KSTU Channel 13 and KUTV Channel 2. It was the first time a court has ruled against Aereo, which successfully fended off similar lawsuits against the major television networks and a TV station in Boston.
On Friday, the 10th Circuilt Court of Appeals in Denver denied Aereo's request to delay the preliminary injunction.
"We are extremely disappointed that the District Court in Utah has chosen to take a different path than every other Court that has reviewed the Aereo technology," Kanojia wrote in his email. "Consumers have a fundamental right to watch over-the-air broadcast television via a modern antenna and to record copies for their personal use. The Copyright Act provides no justification to curtail that right simply because the consumer is using modern, remotely located equipment."
Aereo, which was launched in Utah last summer, believes it circumvents copyright law by using tens of thousands of tiny dime-sized antennas built on a rooftop array in each market, each antenna devoted to each customer. The antennas receive the free, local over-the-air broadcasts and then transmits them to the customer's desktop computer or mobile device via the Internet. The service has a monthly subscription fee of $8 to $12 per month and is available in nearly a dozen markets in the U.S.
The major networks, including CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox filed a similar lawsuit against Aereo that will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court next month. Kanojia did not say how long the service, which was ordered shut down in just Utah and Denver, could remain turned off.