Retransmission Consent

The STELA Reauthorization Act (“STELAR”) has been signed into law by the President.  STELAR extends the statutory copyright license for satellite carriage of distant signals for another five years (through December 31, 2019).  It also extends through January 1, 2020 the statutory good faith negotiation requirement imposed on broadcasters and MVPDs for retransmission consent negotiations.  As discussed below, it makes several other changes to the Communications Act and to the Copyright Act.
Continue Reading STELAR (STELA Reauthorization) Enacted

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the retransmission consent agreement between Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. and Time Warner Cable, Inc. allows Time Warner to rebroadcast the signals of three television stations owned by Nexstar without any geographic restriction across its entire system.  Rejecting Nexstar’s request for an injunction to stop Time Warner from retransmitting certain Nexstar broadcasts to distant markets, the Court of Appeals found that the agreement between the companies likely allows Time Warner to do so.  The Court of Appeals thus upheld the District Court’s decision to deny an injunction sought by Nexstar.
Continue Reading Appeals Court Finds that Retransmission Consent Agreement Allows Time Warner to Rebroadcast Nexstar Signals Across Entire System

Last week, a federal district court declined to enjoin Aereo’s “Watch Now” streaming service pending the outcome of a full trial in the copyright infringement law suit filed by the major networks and broadcast stations serving the New York DMA against Aereo. The parties sought to enjoin Aereo from streaming their programming for the duration of the trial because, they argued, they were likely to succeed on the merits. The court’s denial of their request for a preliminary injunction means that Aereo is free to continue with it service for the duration of the trial. The decision adds to the confusion around the degree to which broadcast signals may be streamed online and to mobile devices.

In last week’s decision, the court agreed with Aereo that its “Watch Now” streaming service works much like the remote storage DVR (“RS-DVR”) service offered by Cablevision and which the Second Circuit upheld against claims of copyright infringement in a separate decision last year. The RS-DVR service at issue in that case stored programming designated by consumers for recording on servers maintained remotely by Cablevision. Consumers could playback those programs through their home television sets using a remote control and a standard cable box equipped with the RS-DVR software. Key to the finding that the RS-DVR did not infringe upon copyright was the fact that when a consumer selected a program to be recorded to the RS-DVR, a “unique copy” of the program was saved for the consumer on the RS-DVR server. It was that “unique copy” which in turn was played back to the consumer when he or she requested it ― meaning there was no infringing “public performance.”  The Second Circuit’s decision is legally binding in New York, Vermont, and Connecticut.


Continue Reading District Court Declines To Shut Down Video Streaming Service