Broadcasters Will Petition Supreme Court to Review Aereo Case (Exclusive)

Aereo Judge
Oliver Munday

Justices will have to choose between taking case or letting legal proceedings play out further

Broadcasters plan to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower court rulings that have allowed Aereo to continue offering unauthorized streams of digital signals in New York, according to sources familiar with the case.

A decision has been made to file a petition, or writ of certoriari, by a deadline of Oct. 15. In July, one of the plaintiffs, Fox, indicated that appealing to the high court was one of its options after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider the case. The appellate court had upheld a lower court decision in which U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan denied broadcasters’ efforts to obtain a preliminary injunction to stop Aereo.

Aereo launched in March, 2012, in New York, offering digital streams of broadcast signals via thousands of dime-seized remote antennas assigned to each of its subscribers. Broadcasters have been challenging the startup in court, arguing that it violates their copyright of public performance, and although they have so far lost in the 2nd Circuit, that have so far been victorious in their legal effort in Los Angeles and Washington district courts to stop Film On X, a similar startup that offers digital streams via remote antennas.

The Supreme Court is prone to step in when circuit courts issue conflicting opinions, and there is a question as to whether the justices will take the case, or whether they will wait for the legal proceedings to play out further. The 9th circuit has yet to issue a decision in Film On X’s appeal of the Los Angeles district court decision, and if broadcasters prevail, they could have a bolstered argument that there is a split in the appellate courts on the issue.

The challenge to Aereo in New York is coming via twin lawsuits. Plaintiffs in one case include Fox Television Stations, WPIX-TV, Univision, WNET-TV and PBS, and plaintiffs in the other include ABC, CBS, NBCUniversal, Telemundo and WNJU-TV.

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  1. Adrian says:

    Here we are in almost 2014 and these Hollywood media companies still can’t get on board with the modern world. When companies such as these continue to use old business models in a new reality they are destined to fail. The service that Aero provides is legal, no gray area. I can go on the roof of my house, install an antenna, and receive OTA channels. How is my DIY approach different from the service Aero provides?

    Here is a tip for Hollywood, film and music studios alike. Work together, create a website(s), split the backend network costs and make ALL of the content from your libraries available with a paid subscription. I mean all of your content, new shows, old shows, old and new LPs/EP’s, etc. Hollywood also needs to get behind and support HDMI version 2. I’m willing to pay a studio $20 per film to deliver first run movies to my home using HDMI v2.

    There is so much money to be made in the digital space, it’s laughable that big companies would rather litigate instead of innovate. Kind of makes you want to see them fail for being so arrogant and short sighted.

    What is the average age of these Hollywood Executives? From the outside, they come off like a bunch of grumpy old men, who can’t wrap their heads around this ‘newfangled technology’.

    • commonsense says:

      “I can go on the roof of my house, install an antenna, and receive OTA channels. How is my DIY approach different from the service Aero provides?”

      Adrian, the one difference is that Aereo is making money off of what the Government has ruled that the broadcast companies MUST provide a free OTA (Over The Air) digital signal of their programming.

      Would you be happy if you were forced by law to spend lots of money to broadcast your work to the local area only to have a company grab that work and the sell it to people?

      All your other points are very valid.

      • Mark says:

        Why not let the people vote. I could install a rooftop antenna, but probably would only be able to pickup half the content broadcast ota. Aereo which I feel is low cost, offers dvr without the hassle and gives me the ability to receive more of the ota transmissions I otherwise could not view. I agree with Adrian about creating something with a pic and choose and not the standard this is what you get. I was paying $225.00 a month for my three services (phone,internet,and cable). It definitely is more than I can afford.

  2. Joey Diggs says:

    …except that there is no confusion – the two cases have nothing in common. Aereo has won over, and over, and over in court – with clear concise victories. Big Media simply wants to money-bleed poor Aereo to death by SLAPPing them. Hopefully the Supremes will do what’s right and let this sleeping dog lie. And hey ABC/Disney/CBS/ETC etc why not offer something people want for a change? Hmm?

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