Aereo avoids Hearst injunction in online streaming saga

Aereo has scored another win against the traditional cable companies, avoiding a preliminary injunction Hearst had been chasing after the judge deemed the initial evidence wasn't strong enough to justify it. "Hearst has not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits nor the requisite irreparable harm and therefore it is not entitled to that 'extraordinary and drastic remedy.'" federal judge Nathaniel M. Gorton of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled today.

Hearst had been asking the court to block Aereo from offering its cloud-DVR and streaming system, which uses clusters of tiny micro-antenna to bridge free-to-air channels to the internet. However, "Hearst fails to make a sufficient showing that it is likely to prevail on any of [its] claims and therefore this factor weighs against a preliminary injunction in its favor" the judge decided.

Unsurprisingly, Aereo is pretty pleased with the result. "Today's decision, coupled with the decisions in favor of Aereo in the Southern District of New York (July 11, 2013) and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (April 1, 2013 and July 16, 2013), shows that when you comply not only with the letter, but the spirit of the law, justice will prevail," CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia said in a statement.

Aereo offers access to local network affiliate channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox) viewed through the web, by funneling them from a local antenna to wherever the user is. To do so legally, each subscriber has their own antenna rather than sharing a single signal.

Despite that, the cable companies have been far from pleased with how Aereo operates, and the streaming startup has been the subject of several lawsuits aiming to shut it down.

So far, though, the courts have generally sided with Aereo. The company won an appeal back in April, citing Cablevision's web-based RS-DVR as evidence that it was operating legally. Of course, today's ruling is only the latest step of the ongoing cases; Hearst had merely been attempting to have Aereo's service shut down while the lawsuit was underway, and a decision still needs to be made on the overall case.

Meanwhile, Aereo's Android DVR app was released earlier today, and the company announced a new round of expansion cities back in August.