November 18, 2013


The National Football League and Major League Baseball filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging it to take up a challenge by broadcasters to the Internet television service Aereo, Ted Johnson reports in Variety.

“If copyright holders lose their exclusive retransmission licensing rights and the substantial benefits derived from those rights when they place programming on broadcast stations, those stations will become less attractive mediums for distributing copyrighted content,” the leagues said in their brief. “The option for copyright holders will be to move that content to paid cable networks (such as ESPN and TNT) where Aereo-like services cannot hijack and exploit their programming without authorization.”

Reached by email, Aereo spokesperson Virginia Lam declined to comment on the sports leagues’ brief.

Aereo assigns a tiny antenna to each of its customers, who can then watch broadcast TV on their computers or store digital copies of broadcasts to watch later. Courts in New York and Boston have found in Aereo’s favor. Broadcasters hope the Supreme Court will see things their way. They’ve been “successful in shutting down a similar service run by a different company, FilmOn X, with injunctions in Los Angeles and D.C. courts,” Joan E. Solsman reported in CNET in October.

The Ninth Circuit, if it affirms the Los Angeles decision, could set up a conflicting circuit court decision that makes a Supreme Court hearing more likely.

Aereo has said in the past that there has been no legal discovery conducted that even confirms its own technology is akin to FilmOn X’s.

Previously: Why Aereo has broadcasters rattled

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City…
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