Broadcasters suffer another legal setback, but Fox says it was no surprise
Fox says it may take its case against the streaming service Aereo to the U.S. Supreme Court after suffering another legal setback Tuesday.
After a panel of New York's Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed 2-1 in April that Aereo's service does not infringe on copyrights, broadcasters asked for an "en banc" ruling in which all judges on the court would weigh in.
The court turned down that request, spurring Fox and other networks to consider their options.
"The 2nd Circuit's denial of our request for an ‘en banc’ hearing, while disappointing, was not unexpected," Fox said in a statement Tuesday. "We will now review our options and determine the appropriate course of action, which include seeking a hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court and proceeding to a full trial on the merits of the case."
The other plaintiffs including ABC, CBS, NBC and Telemundo.
Aereo streams video by capturing live TV signals using antennas small enough to fit on a fingertip. Aereo says it puts "tons" of antennas in data centers and then relays the signals over the internet to laptops, phones and tablets. It does not relay cable channels — only the broadcast stations available to any viewer with an antenna.
It debuted in New York but has since expanded to Boston — where the company is also being sued — and Atlanta. It has announced plans to move to 22 markets, including Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia.
Aereo poses a threat to broadcasters in part because it lets customers fast-forward through ads, which undercuts the traditional ad-sponsored TV model.
Aereo says all it is doing is harnessing — on a massive scale — the power of the humble antenna, which has always given TV owners access to the public airwaves.
Ira Teinowitz and Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.