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CBS CEO Moonves says he could take network cable-only in 'a few days' if Aereo prevails

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Les Moonves
Les Moonves

CBS CEO Les Moonves has said before that he’s talked with New York cable operators about taking his network cable-only if Aereo is allowed to keep streaming what it broadcasts on the internet, but now he’s saying that he could make the switch in as little as a few days "if we are forced to." By taking free CBS broadcasts off the airwaves, Moonves says, "about 10 percent of America will not get our signal and I don’t think they will like that." Aereo sells people access to individual TV antennas on its premises, letting paying subscribers watch the free broadcasts they capture online.

"There are financial remedies, there are Congressional remedies."

A month ago, Aereo scored a major legal win against the networks when an appellate court found the streaming provider hadn’t violated anyone’s copyrights. Immediately afterward, Aereo’s CEO Chet Kanojia told us that broadcasters would just go to Congress if they couldn’t win in the courts, and right on cue, that’s exactly what Moonves is proposing, reports Deadline. "We will go after them in the courts and if that doesn’t work there are other remedies. There are financial remedies; there are Congressional remedies," said the CEO at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Beverly Hills.

But convincing Congress to pass laws to protect your network takes time, and more litigation is likely on the way in the short term. Last week when Aereo announced it would be expanding service to the Boston area, CBS immediately threatened to sue the company, saying "stealing our signal will be found to be illegal in Boston, just as it will be everywhere else."