US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton refused to grant a temporary injunction to the broadcaster Hearst, which had argued that Aereo was rebroadcasting its Channel 5 signal without permission and infringing copyright, finding that Aereo did not appear to violate copyright because it's service is akin to a remote DVR service that lets subscribers watch and record private individual copies of the programs themselves - although the Judge did recognise the harm Aereo could cause to broadcasters with lost cable subscriptions but said “it seems more likely that the harm will take several years to materialize.” In April this year the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeal held that Aereo's transmissions do not constitute a public performance concluding that:
"Aereo’s transmissions of unique copies of broadcast television programs created at its users’ requests and transmitted while the programs are still airing on broadcast television are not ‘public performances' of the Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works under Cablevision. As such, Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that they are likely to prevail on the merits on this claim in their copyright infringement action. Nor have they demonstrated serious questions as to the merits and a balance of hardships that tips decidedly in their favor. We therefore affirm the order of the district court denying the Plaintiffs’ motion."
However, that's not the end of the story: with conflicting judgements in California and the District of Columbia (where Aereo and fellow start up FilmOn remain unavailable) - with Circuit Judge Denny Chin's strident dissent to the 2nd Circuit's decision - with a possible "split" in the appeal circuits - and with broadcasters saying that subscription revenue from cable companies is absolutely vital - it seems likely the Supreme Court will be asked to determine the matter.