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Judge Waives Off Aereo's Emergency Motion About 'Bleeding to Death'

U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan gives broadcasters the opportunity to write up a proposed injunction.

 Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia - P 2013
Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia

On Thursday night, Aereo pleaded for its life to a New York federal judge, claiming it was "bleeding to death" in its current nonoperational state.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan reacted swiftly, knocking Aereo for having "jumped the gun in filing, without authorization, its motion for emergency consideration of preliminary injunction issues upon remand."

Aereo's motion has been stricken from the record, but according to Bloomberg, the company told the judge, "Unless it is able to resume operations in the immediate future, the company will likely not survive."

It was, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court's June 25 ruling that put Aereo in such a dire spot. The high court disagreed with Aereo's contention that it was privately performing the copyrighted programming of broadcasters. Earlier this month, Aereo announced it was refashioning itself as a cable operator, eligible for a statutory license under Section 111 of the Copyright Act.

But the company's time for reinvention might be running out.

"Aereo is currently incurring staggering costs without accruing any revenue," said Aereo's emergency motion. "The company is figuratively bleeding to death."

Judge Nathan was unmoved.

According to the judge's latest order, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, "The Court agrees with Plaintiffs that the appropriate next step is to consider a proposed order consistent with the Supreme Court's decision and the Court directs Plaintiffs to prepare such an order, accompanied by a memorandum of law in support of their position, on or before two weeks from today's date. Defendant's opposition, if any, shall be filed on or before two weeks after receipt of Plaintiffs' proposed order and memorandum of law."

By giving the broadcasters the opportunity to draw up a proposed injunction first, it appears she has given them the edge. Aereo can still argue in rebuttal that it is a cable operator, but that position figures to be a long-shot given that the U.S. Copyright Office has transmitted its own belief that Aereo is misinterpreting the Supreme Court's ruling as well as other case precedent. Aereo was able to get Judge Nathan in its corner in the first round of the legal dispute but doing it again will be challenging.

Email: Eriq.Gardner@THR.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner