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Supreme Court May Decide Jan. 10 Whether to Hear Aereo Case

Decision on whether to take case could be announced days later

The Supreme Court will get its first chance to decide whether to hear the networks’ case against Aereo on Jan. 10.

That’s when the court will meet to decide what cases to hear after the early part of 2014, according to the court’s docket. The judges’ decision could be announced as early as the following Monday. The court could also delay a decision.

The Aereo case is one of dozens the judges will consider taking.

Aereo uses millions of small antennae to beam networks’ signals to subscribers’ laptops, tablets and other devices. Networks contend that the company is illegally retransmitting its signals and violating copyrights.

Broadcasters are asking the court to overturn a 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision in New York that said it was legal for Aereo to air local stations in the New York market. Aereo has said it looks forward to having the issue resolved, and has expanded to other markets, including Boston, Atlanta, Houston and Denver, even as the networks dispute its right to do so.

In their filings, ABC, CBS, NBC Universal and Fox have said the 2nd Circuit ruling allows for widespread copyright violations. The NFL, Viacom, the National Association of Broadcasters, PBS, Viacom, ASCAP and the Copyright Alliance are among those who have submitted filings supporting the broadcasters’ position.

A ruling on a similar case is expected soon from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and two other appellate courts are due to consider other cases involving online transmission of broadcast signals. The high court judges may wait for rulings on those issues before they weigh in.