NEW YORK — A federal appeals court in New York on Monday upheld a ruling in favor of Aereo, the startup Internet service that streams broadcast stations without compensation, setting the stage for a full-blown trial between Aereo and major media companies.
In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit found that Aereo’s streams of TV shows to individual subscribers did not constitute “public performances,” and thus the broadcasters’ copyright infringement lawsuits against the service “are not likely to prevail on the merits.”
The appeals court affirmed an earlier district court decision that denied the broadcasters a preliminary injunction against Aereo. The broadcasters, including CBS Corp., Comcast, News Corp. and the Walt Disney Co., filed two suits against Aereo more than a year ago, weeks before the service was made available to residents of New York City last March.
They asserted that the service was illegal. But courts have now ruled against them on two occasions, giving momentum to Aereo as it tries to expand to other major metropolitan areas.