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Telly bigwigs try to close down Aereo streaming service - again

Appeals court: We've heard it all before, stop pestering us

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A US appeals court has refused to rehear major broadcasters' arguments for temporarily shutting down TV streaming service Aereo while another court decides whether or not it's legal.

The telly bigwigs, including Disney's ABC and NBC Universal, have been trying to get the online TV service banned on the basis that it infringes their copyrights and should be closed down while federal court rules on that accusation.

The appeals court has already refused to stop the service, which allows users to watch live or recorded TV channels on their mobile devices for a $12 a month fee, but broadcasters were trying to get the full court to rehear their pleas. However, the majority of the court declined to rehear the case, with two judges disagreeing.

Circuit Judge Denny Chin, with the support of Circuit Judge Richard Wesley, said in his dissenting opinion that the majority of the court had agreed with Aereo's argument that "its system of thousands of tiny antennas and unique copies somehow renders these transmissions private".

"In my view, however, the system is a sham, as it was designed solely to avoid the reach of the Copyright Act and to take advantage of a perceived loophole in the law," he said.

The broadcasters' argument against the streaming service hinges on the idea that Aereo violates their copyrights because its transmission of their content is a "public performance". In their lawsuit, the telly firms are asking for damages and for Aereo to be permanently shut down.

Meanwhile, there are rumours that Google is once again thinking about getting into the telly game. The firm has made overtures to media companies about licensing content for an online TV service, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Unlike video services like Netflix and LoveFilm, the Chocolate Factory is looking into cable-style TV packages of channels that would just happen to be delivered via broadband connections. ®

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