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Hearst v. Aereo
After an appellate setback in April, the broadcast television industry has tapped Holland & Knight’s James “J.D.” Smeallie to open up a new front in its copyright fight with Aereo Inc., the fast-growing start-up that streams TV programming to subscribers over the Internet. On July 9 a Boston-area ABC Inc. affiliate owned by Hearst Corporation lodged copyright infringement claims against Aereo in U.S. district court in Boston. Hearst alleges that Aereo’s business model commercially exploits its station’s programming without authorization and “destabilizes the free, over-the-air television broadcast industry.” Aereo is represented by Frank Scherkenbach of Fish & Richardson for the Boston litigation; Aereo won an appellate victory in April when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower-court decision refusing to enjoin Aereo’s New York launch.

Varga v. McGraw-Hill
Five years after Bear Stearns’s collapse helped usher in the financial crisis, liquidators for two defunct Bear Stearns hedge funds sued the three primary credit ratings agencies in New York state court, seeking more than $1 billion over allegedly faulty ratings on mortgage-backed securities. The liquidators, who have tapped C. Neil Gray and Jordan Siev of Reed Smith, allege in their July 9 complaint that the ratings agencies fraudulently misrepresented their independence and the quality of their ratings. Lawyers for Moody’s Corporation, Fitch Group Inc., and McGraw Hill Financial Inc. had not yet made appearances at press time.

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