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Diller's Aereo wins dismissal of broadcaster claim
* Unfair competition claim dismissed
* Aereo still faces copyright infringement claim
* Aereo accused of unauthorized streaming of programs online
May 22 (Reuters) - Aereo Inc, an online television start-up backed by billionaire Barry Diller, has won the dismissal of part of a lawsuit brought by a group of broadcasters seeking to shut it down.
The dismissal of an unfair competition claim left a copyright infringement claim to be decided in the case, one of two trying to stop Aereo from streaming programs to phones, tablet computers and other devices.
Aereo was launched in the New York City area in March, charging $12 per month for its service.
Broadcasters including News Corp's Fox, the Public Broadcasting Service, Univision Communications Inc and the WPIX and WNET stations in New York complained that Aereo was depriving them of their right to retransmission fees from cable and other companies that rebroadcast their programming.
In a decision made public on Monday, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan agreed with Aereo that federal copyright law preempted the broadcasters from pursuing their unfair competition claim under New York state law.
Requests for comment to a lawyer for the broadcasters were sent to a Fox spokesman, who said on that company's behalf: "We look forward to our day in court to prove that Aereo's unauthorized streaming of our content constitutes copyright infringement."
Aereo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The other lawsuit was brought by Walt Disney Co's ABC, CBS Corp and Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal and Telemundo.
Nathan will hold a hearing on May 30 and 31 over the broadcasters' request for a preliminary injunction to stop Aereo's alleged unauthorized streaming.
Aereo has financial backing from Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp.
The cases are American Broadcasting Cos. et al v. Aereo Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-01540; and WNET et al v. Aereo Inc in the same court, No. 12-01543.
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