Online television streaming company Aereo recently won a big battle against angry broadcasters in New York, but a judge in Utah has just issued an injunction against the service, effecting a temporary ban that covers Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma.
The ruling comes as a blow to Aereo, and possibly to all internet-based TV streaming entities. By renting out antennas to each customer, the company streams OTA television content to users' PCs, set-top boxes, and mobile devices. Customers can pay more for extra services, such as multi-channel DVR recording. Aereo has seen rapid growth in recent months, but the ruling in Utah is certainly a bump in the road.
According to the judge, Aereo's streaming and retransmission of copyrighted programs is prohibited by law unless licensing fees are paid to big broadcasters like CBS and FOX. Cable companies have paid such fees for years, but Aereo has maintained that it is exempt since customers pay for access to individual antennas, and all Aereo does is forward the signal.
The same case has been argued in courts in Boston and New York, and Aereo has come out on top every time. Currently, the whole debate is headed to the Supreme Court, where Aereo's fate will ultimately be decided on April 22.