April 20, 2012 10:50am PT by Eriq Gardner
Barry Diller Forced to Hand Over Documents in Aereo Lawsuit
Barry Diller and other investors of upstart TV streaming service, Aereo, will have to turn over documents to broadcasters who are suing the company for copyright infringement. However, for the moment, these investors won't have to give taped depositions.
A New York federal judge made the ruling after the investors objected to subpoenas that were delivered by e-mail last Friday.
Diller, whose IAC/InterActiveCorp put up $20.5 million in financial backing, and other large investment firms, argued that the documents being sought in connection to their decisions to back Aereo, were "extremely sensitive" and questioned the relevancy. The investors also fought against giving testimony on their involvement with Aereo in advance of a hearing to determine a preliminary injunction.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan has delivered a split verdict on motions to quash the subpoenas, denying the objection to the production of documents and granting the objection on the depositions.
But the judge hasn't ruled out forcing the investors to answer questions at a later time. The broadcasters are being told to submit a one page letter articulating the continuing need for these depositions, and the investors will be allowed an opportunity to object. And in the interim, the parties are being directed to schedule some time for depositions before the end of the money in the event the judge decides to allow it.
All of the major broadcasters sued Aereo in March for allegedly providing unlimited streams of television broadcasts over the Internet in direct competition with their own activity. Aereo defends its $12-a-month service by saying its limited to local markets and that broadcast law and copyright precedent permits a more convenient way to receive local over-the-air programming content.