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Diller's Aereo Web TV countersues broadcasters

In a suit against nearly all the major broadcasters, Aereo claims it doesn't infringe on the broadcasters' copyrights.

Barry Dilller and Aereo are striking back at the broadcasters.
Dan Farber

Well, it certainly didn't take long for Barry Diller to follow through with his promise to go after the broadcasters.

Aereo, an online video service owned by Diller and his IAC/InterActive Corp., has filed a countersuit against the broadcasters who have taken aim at his new venture, according to a report from Reuters. The suit declares that Aereo does not infringe on the broadcasters' copyrights.

Aereo was hit with suits earlier this from nearly every major TV broadcaster in New York. The Internet TV service, which was scheduled to launch March 14, intended to take shows freely available from digital antennas and stream them over the Internet. The idea is each Aereo subscriber would be able to pick and choose their show, a boon to the so-called cord-cutters who have shunned traditional pay-TV services.

That model drew the wrath of the major broadcasters, including Walt Disney's ABC, CBS (the parent of CNET), and Comcast's NBC Universal and Telemundo. Speaking at SXSW yesterday, Diller said he wouldn't walk away from Aereo.

"Another reason I love it," Diller said. "It's going to be a great fight."

Aereo, meanwhile, is basing its argument on the fact that consumers have a right to access broadcast television, record the content, and use remotely located equipment to make their copies.

"We firmly believe that Aereo's technology is lawful. We are confident in the legal process, and we look forward to a prompt resolution of these meritless lawsuits," the company said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan, said that Aereo didn't receive any formal notice to abandoned the planned launch.