WNET v. Aereo

Aereo was a company that let users watch local channels by renting their own small antenna located at the Aereo facility, with the signal from the antenna sent over the Internet to that single user.  In a lawsuit, TV networks argued that this constituted a public performance and therefore infringed their copyright, even though it would be perfectly legal for someone to install their own antenna and run a wire to a TV set without paying a fee to anyone.

EFF urged a federal judge not to let television networks squash an innovative streaming service with a bogus copyright infringement lawsuit.   In an amicus brief, EFF and Public Knowledge asked the court to block a preliminary injunction that could prevent Aereo Inc. from establishing a customer base in New York City, arguing that shutting down the service at this early stage sends a dangerous message to other start-up companies working to improve consumers’ TV viewing experience.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo, and the company shut down in early 2015.

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