Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia (Bloomberg/Jin Lee )
Cablevision Systems Corp., a New York-based cable operator, blasted the arguments made by broadcasters in a Supreme Court filing seeking to shut down Aereo, a start-up company that delivers local television station signals to consumers via the Internet.
In a statement, Cablevision said the case that broadcasters including Fox, CBS, ABC and NBC are attempting to make against Aereo is a "willful attempt to stifle innovation."
Specifically, Cablevision is concerned about remarks in the filing regarding its own remote digital video recording service, which also beat back legal challenges when it was first introduced. Aereo has a similar cloud-based digital recorder as part of its service.
A footnote in the broadcasters' argument to the high court states that clouds and digital lockers to store music are designed to comply with the Cablevision ruling and "seek to avoid public performance liability by creating user-associated copies of each song rather than sharing song files among multiple users."
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"We are dismayed by the broadcasters' brazen attempt, in a case about Aereo, to go after the legal underpinning of all cloud-based services, everything from digital lockers to Cablevision's own RS-DVR service," Cablevision said in a statement.
Interestingly, Cablevision had previously come out in support of broadcasters against Aereo. Last year, Cablevision filed an amicus brief in support of broadcasters saying Aereo violates copyright laws.
"Unlike Aereo, Cablevision operates a licensed cable system that retransmits content to subscribers pursuant to agreements with content providers," Cablevision said.
In its Friday statement, Cablevision said the broadcasters have "more persuasive legal grounds for invalidating Aereo" that do not threaten new technology. "If Aereo ends up prevailing, it will serve the broadcasters right," the statement concluded.
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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.
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