Written by Andrew L. Deutsch, Marc E. Miller and Melissa A. Reinckens

Shortly after its highly publicized loss before the US Supreme Court, which appeared to doom its over-the-air television Internet streaming business, New York-based Aereo shifted to a new legal strategy which it hopes will save its business from extinction.

Aereo has asserted in federal district court that it is entitled to a compulsory license to carry over-the-air broadcasts under § 111 of the Copyright Act. Such a license, which is available to cable systems, could be a complete defense to copyright infringement claims by broadcasters. Aereo bases its claim on the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Aereo service is “highly similar” to that of a cable system.

The Copyright Office has since rejected Aereo’s theory, reaffirming its view that § 111 does not apply to Internet retransmission services. Nonetheless, Aereo’s strategy presents interesting new issues, which may substantially prolong its litigation, and which may mean that the case ultimately returns to the Supreme Court.

Find out more about these new developments.