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Timothy B. Lee

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Posted at 02:02 PM ET, 05/06/2013

The Circuit: Aereo files federal suit against CBS to prevent further lawsuits

Aereo files complaint against CBS: Aereo filed a complaint against CBS to prevent the television broadcaster from filing a suit against the streaming video startup in Boston. CBS is one of several broadcasters that claim Aereo’s technology, which picks up broadcast waves and delivers them over the Web, is illegal. Two judges have ruled that Aereo’s business is legal, and broadcasters have asked a New York federal district court for a full review of the case.

The complaint aims to prevent CBS from filing suits against Aereo’s service as it expands to Boston and other areas of the country.

“Last year, the trial court denied CBS’s and the other broadcasters' request for a preliminary injunction against Aereo; and, last month, the appeals court affirmed that decision,” said Aereo spokeswoman Virginia Lam. “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. We are hopeful that any such efforts to commence duplicative lawsuits to try to seek a different outcome will be rejected by the courts.”

In a statement, CBS said that “public relations and legal maneuvers” do not change its view of Aereo’s business.

“The issue of unauthorized streaming of copyrighted television programming is now being contested in the 2nd Circuit and the 9th Circuit, and wherever Aereo attempts to operate there will be vigorous challenges to its Illegal  business model,” CBS said.

E.U. rules against Google: The European Union on Monday released a preliminary statement of objection to a Motorola Mobility suit against Apple in Germany. The Google-owned company has tried to block Apple products in Germany for using wireless technology covered by a standard-essential patent — a patent Motorola agreed to license for a reasonable rate to all companies that use a common European GSM wireless standard.

The commission said that Motorola’s actions in this case could be seen as an “abuse of a dominant position prohibited by E.U. antitrust rules.”

"The protection of intellectual property is a cornerstone of innovation and growth,” said E.U. antitrust commission Joaquin Almunia. “But so is competition. I think that companies should spend their time innovating and competing on the merits of the products they offer – not misusing their intellectual property rights to hold up competitors to the detriment of innovation and consumer choice."

In a statement, Motorola spokeswoman Katie Dove said that the company has followed the procedures established by German courts. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Marketplace Fairness Act: The Senate is expected to vote Monday on the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to pass laws requiring retailers to collect state sales tax from online purchases.

The measure, which has the support of nationwide retailers and Amazon.com, would allow states to collect an estimated $11 billion in taxes per year. Online shoppers are supposed to pay taxes on their purchases every year, but many do not — leaving states without that revenue. Businesses that make less than $1 million in out-of-state revenue from online purchases would be exempt from the bill’s provisions.

Opponents of the bill, which include eBay, say that it would unfairly burden small businesses who would have to navigate tax codes from several different jurisdictions to process online transactions, and have asked that the exemption be extended to businesses that make less than $3 million from out-of-state online revenue.

YouTube may start paid channels: The Financial Times reported that YouTube may begin paid subscriptions to channels on the site as soon as this week — with as many as 50 channels offering subscriptions for as low as $1.99 a month.

In a statement Monday, YouTube told The Washington Post that while it has nothing to announce at this time, it is “looking into creating a subscription platform that could bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our partners with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content, beyond the rental and ad-supported models we offer.”

By  |  02:02 PM ET, 05/06/2013

 
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