Broadcasters could bring Aereo fight to Supreme Court: sources

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 10, 2013 10:06 PM

By Erin Geiger Smith and Ronald Grover

(Reuters) - The broadcasters involved in a high-profile lawsuit with online TV service Aereo could file a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court as early as Friday, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Aereo, backed by Barry Diller's IAC/Interactive Corp, charges about $12 a month to watch live or recorded TV channels on computers or mobile devices.

In federal court in New York, Walt Disney Co's ABC, Comcast Corp's NBC, Fox and CBS Broadcasting are among those claiming that Aereo's service amounts to stealing their proprietary content. In April the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Aereo could continue to operate while the New York litigation moves forward.

The television industry is closely watching the case to see whether it could disrupt the traditional TV model. The TV industry sees the service as a threat to its ability to control subscription fees and generate advertising income, its two main sources of revenue.

The main question in all the suits is whether Aereo's technology provides users with a "public performance" of the plaintiffs' content. Copyright owners have the exclusive right to public performance of their works.

The news that the broadcasters were considering appealing to the Supreme Court was previously reported by Variety and the Wall Street Journal.

Enough's Enough
Walter E. Williams

A representative from CBS declined to comment. Representatives from Fox, Disney, NBC and Aereo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Thursday, Online TV service Aereo Inc logged another court victory, with a federal judge refusing to temporarily shut down the IAC-backed start-up in a lawsuit brought by a Boston station owned by Hearst Television Inc.

(Additional reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Michael Perry)