Copyright battles brewing over new way to watch TV



ATLANTA - A new way to watch TV is rocking the industry and leading to court battles over copyrights. Now it's coming to Atlanta.

Aereo takes over-the-air programming from TV stations like Channel 2, and streams it online for a price.

"Aereo is a platform that lets you watch live broadcast TV over the Internet on a computer, tablet, phone and television," explains Aereo company representative Christopher McKay.

That's the basis for lawsuits.

ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and Comcast are among those suing Aereo.

They said it infringes on copyrighted material by capturing their signal and then retransmitting it to Aereo customers.

Those customers would pay Aereo $8 - 12 for a subscription.

Aereo's argument is customers are not doing anything that you can't do you at home.

"They are not getting anything they couldn't get if they went to RadioShack and got an antenna," McKay said.

Each subscriber pays for a tiny antenna in Aereo's facility.

"We are pretty much taking an HD antenna, a TiVo and a Slingbox and combining them to add convenience to the consumer," said McKay.

Lucie asked copyright and entertainment law attorney John Seay if Aereo is stealing copyrighted material from the networks.

"If you are looking at the 2nd Circuit recently issued, the answer would be no," said Seay.

Seay said despite a recent victory for Aereo in an appeals court, they could be sued when they open in Atlanta.

"My sense is that the courts might be less friendly down here than the 2nd Circuit area," explained Seay.

Seay added Congress may change the copyright laws which would affect Aereo's entire business model.

"We are talking about something written in the early 1970s. They couldn't have foreseen this issue coming up," said Seay.

Aereo is asking a federal judge to dismiss the copyright infringement suits. Meanwhile, it continues to expand, opening in Boston Wednesday and Atlanta on June 17.

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