Skip to main content

Broadcast networks ask Supreme Court to take Aereo case

The lower court skirmishes around the country between broadcasters and Aereo may be settled by the Supreme Court if the nation’s highest court chooses to hear a case filed Oct. 11 by ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX seeking relief from what the broadcast networks say is unauthorized retransmission of their copyrighted content.

Aereo, which receives the OTA transmissions of television broadcasters and retransmits their programming to the cell phones, tablets, computers and Internet-connected TVs of subscribers, has been buoyed by lower court rulings denying motions for injunctions filed in New York and Boston by broadcasters.

On Oct. 10, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Hearst Stations to force Aereo to cease its retransmission of content. In April, a federal appeals court upheld an earlier decision by a Second District of New York Federal judge denying a similar request for an injunction filed by broadcasters in New York.

Broadcasters in Utah filed a similar motion seeking an injunction against Aereo on Oct. 7.

Following the Oct. 10 decision of the district court in Massachusetts, Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia issued a statement, saying in part, “Today’s decision, coupled with the decisions in favor of Aereo in the Southern District of New York (July 11, 2013) and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (April 1, 2013 and July 16, 2013), shows that when you comply not only with the letter, but the spirit of the law, justice will prevail.”

It’s expected that the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear the case by the end of the year.