Aereo sued by Boston TV station over copyright

Hearst-owned WCVB becomes the latest broadcast TV station to sue the Barry Diller-backed startup, which retransmits over-the-air signals to Internet-connected devices.

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Aereo has gotten into trouble with CBS and other networks over its live TV streaming.
Aereo has gotten into trouble with CBS and other networks over its live TV streaming. John Falcone/CNET

Hearst has joined the long list of broadcast TV providers suing Aereo, the startup that delivers over-the-air TV programming to Internet-connected devices.

Boston broadcast TV station WCVB filed a lawsuit Tuesday to stop Aereo from retransmitting its over-the-air signals without a license, claiming the service will cause harm to the station.

"If Aereo is permitted to profit from the unauthorized retransmission of copyrighted television programming, WCVB will be deprived of existing and potential revenue streams from advertising and authorized retransmissions," Hearst said in its 22-page complaint.

CNET has contacted Aereo for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Aereo, which is backed by IAC Chairman Barry Diller, uses antenna/DVR technology to let consumers watch live, local over-the-air television broadcasts on some Internet-connected devices, including the iPad and iPhone. That capability has provoked lawsuits from TV broadcast giants including ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), Fox, NBC Universal, and Telemundo, which alleged last year that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them retransmission fees.

Thus far, Aereo has been on the winning side of court battles. In April, an appeals court denied a preliminary injunction motion from television networks that would have prevented Aereo from transmitting recorded broadcast television programs to its subscribers. The court found that the networks "have not demonstrated that they are likely to prevail on the merits of this claim in their copyright infringement action."