Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Internet TV startup set to expand service to Detroit

New technologies can stir up and even outdate old business models, and that is increasingly the case in the media industry. For example, Detroit-area television stations may have to adjust their approach to business now that a company out of New York is offering network TV for $8 a month through the Internet.

TV startup Aereo has already brought online television service to a number of other cities, including Atlanta, Boston and Dallas, and the company has been sued three times for what TV stations say are copyright violations.

However, a judge recently opted not to hand down a preliminary injunction against Aereo's expansion into Boston. In that case, Hearst Stations claimed that Aereo committed copyright violations and undermined regulations established by Congress.

According to Hearst, Aereo threatens the business model of WCVB in Boston.

A judge disagreed, however, saying that Hearst failed to show that Aereo's service would cause irreparable harm to WCVB's ability to bring in advertising revenue.

Hearst also claimed that WCVB would lose its ability to track viewership totals, but the judge pointed to the fact that Nielson ratings for online viewership became available earlier this year.

Barring an unforeseen court decision, viewers in southeast Michigan will be able to access Aereo's service on Oct. 28. The service works by grabbing network TV signals from public airwaves and converting the signals into video. Viewers will also have DVR options.

Whenever a company strides into new territory, as Aereo has done, legal issues are likely to arise, and having an experienced legal team on your side can help mitigate the risk of costly litigation.

Source: mlive.com, "Aereo, a company that grabs TV signals for online viewing, expanding into Metro Detroit," Khalil Al Hajal, Oct. 19, 2013

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