The high court will hear arguments over legality of online TV service
Attorneys for Aereo and the broadcast networks will face off before the Supreme Court on April 22 as the justices decide on the legality of Aereo’s online TV service.
The networks are asking the justices to reconsider an April 1, 2013 ruling by a New York federal appeals court that sided with Aereo. The company, which uses millions of tiny antennae to beam broadcasters signals to subscribers laptops, tablets, and other devices, says it is only harnessing the same technology used by the earliest TVs, but on a massive scale.
Broadcasters, meanwhile, contend that Aereo is illegally rebroadcasting their signals and violating copyrights. They say Aereo poses a threat to the ad-supported TV model by allowing users to fast-forward through commercials as long as they watch with a slight delay.
Broadcasters have sued in several venues even as New York City-based Aereo has expanded across the country. Both sides hope a Supreme Court decision will settle once and for all whether Aereo is legal.
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Both sides have expressed confidence in their cases, but Fox has threatened to become a cable network if Aereo is deemed legal. Fox says it’s priority must be protecting its copyrights.