Broadcasters have until October 15 to file a writ of certiorari, which I’m told they plan to do. They’ll ask the Supreme Court to review lower court decisions that upheld Aereo’s right to continue operating while it defends itself against charges that its streaming service violates TV station copyrights. ABC, CBS Fox, NBC and others say Aereo breaks the law by transmitting their shows to its Internet subscribers without paying a license fee. Aereo counters that consumers have the right to watch broadcasters’ free over-the-air signals, and it simply leases the antennas and equipment people need to take advantage of that right. Aereo won a big victory last year when U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan in New York rejected broadcasters’ request for a preliminary injunction in the copyright infringement case. Broadcasters challenged the decision, but 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Christopher Droney, writing for the majority, sided with Aereo saying that its transmissions “are not ‘public performances’ of the Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works.” Fox said in July that it might take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Broadcasters’ seemed to feel a little more confident about their prospects last month when a federal district court in D.C. approved a preliminary injunction against a different streaming service, Alki David’s FilmOn X. Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said he doesn’t know enough about the FilmOn X technology to be able to say whether it’s comparable to Aereo’s. Broadcasters also are challenging Aereo in Boston and Utah. Variety first reported broadcasters’ plan today.
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