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Utah TV stations locked in dispute with Internet TV service

These days, Utahns might not think too much about how they can access their favorite television shows. Those of us over 30 likely remember when we just had a handful of over-the-air channels to choose from, all brought in by an aerial antenna or the old rabbit ears on top of the TV.

In 2013, however, what we think of as TV doesn't necessarily come to us on a TV. Many of us watch through our computers, tablets or even cellphones. Digital video recorders and on-demand services mean that lots of shows can be watched at any time and in any place. Gone are the days when people had to gather around the set at a particular time to watch their favorite shows or they'd miss them.

However, just because content is available in many different ways and forms doesn't mean it's any less valuable. Television affiliates, for example, have agreements with their parent networks that give them certain rights to territory. Business transactions that have been in place for years are still valid, even if the TV landscape is dramatically different.

One of the companies that distributes TV over the Internet is under fire from two Utah stations that say it's not fair for them to do so. The service was introduced in Utah this year and is available in about two dozen markets in the U.S. The Utah stations say that the service violates copyright law by charging a fee to distribute the content. It remains to be seen how the case might play out, but it could have wide-reaching effects around the country.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah stations ask court to halt controversial TV service Aereo," Vince Horiuchi, Dec. 17, 2013

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