* Startup service looking to expand into new markets
* Television industry sees threat to its business
By Bernard Vaughan
NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) - Aereo Inc, the online television venture backed by Barry Diller, asked a federal court on Monday to block CBS Corp from suing it in new markets where it plans to expand.
The startup company brought the complaint in Manhattan federal court, seeking a ruling that it does not violate CBS’s copyright.
Aereo said its complaint is a response to threats by CBS executives to sue the company in any jurisdiction where it makes its technology available to consumers. Aereo’s service currently is available in the New York area, and the company announced plans in April to expand into Boston.
The complaint quotes CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves as saying that “we’ll follow” Aereo and “we’ll sue them again” in the different markets where it launches.
A spokesman for CBS was not immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.
The TV industry is concerned that Aereo, which allows subscribers to live-stream broadcasts of TV channels, could threaten its traditional business model. The service uses large numbers of TV antennas to capture broadcast signals for its subscribers.
Aereo does not pay licensing fees to broadcasters, while companies such as Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc pay billions in retransmission consent fees to broadcasters.
Last month, a U.S. appeals court in New York declined a request by broadcasters, including Walt Disney Co’s ABC and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, to force Aereo to discontinue its service until litigation between the companies is resolved.
Because CBS and other networks are already seeking a nationwide permanent injunction against Aereo, any further lawsuits would be duplicative, Aereo said in its complaint.
“The fact that CBS did not prevail in their efforts to enjoin Aereo in their existing federal lawsuit does not entitle them to a do-over in another jurisdiction,” Virginia Lam, a spokeswoman for Aereo, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that any such efforts to commence duplicative lawsuits to try to seek a different outcome will be rejected by the courts.”
The case is Aereo Inc v. CBS Broadcasting et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-3013.