(Corrects 13th paragraph to show DC District court judge FilmOn
must cease operations everywhere except the 2nd Circuit)
By Erin Geiger Smith
Oct 11 The four major broadcasters asked the
U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to hear their case against Aereo
Inc, arguing the online television service steals copyrighted
Walt Disney Co's ABC network, CBS Broadcasting Inc
, Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal and Fox
Television Stations Inc said in their court filing the
court's "intervention is urgently needed." They said allowing
Aereo to operate is, "already transforming the industry and
threatening the very fundamentals of broadcast television."
The broadcasters are appealing a decision by the 2nd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in April that denied their request to
shut Aereo while litigation moves forward.
A spokeswoman for Aereo said the company would "respond, as
appropriate, in due course."
The Supreme Court will likely decide by the end of the year
whether to take the case.
Aereo, backed by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp
, charges users a low monthly fee to watch live or
recorded broadcast TV channels on computers or mobile devices.
Aereo does not pay the broadcasters.
The broadcasters claim the service violates their copyrights
on the television programs, and say it as a threat to their
ability to control subscription fees and generate advertising.
Aereo counters that its service does nothing more than
provide users with what they could get with a personal
Several lawsuits between Aereo and television providers are
playing out across the country, including in federal courts in
New York, Massachusetts and Utah. The Supreme Court appeal stems
from the New York litigation.
This week, a Boston federal judge denied a request by Hearst
Television Inc's local station, WCVB-TV, that Aereo
be prevented from providing WCVB programs to subscribers while
the lawsuit there is pending.
While the broadcasters have not had success so far against
Aereo, they did convince a California federal court to force
Aereo competitor FilmOn X to shut down while a lawsuit there
FilmOn X appealed the lower court's decision to the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in the case in
August but has not yet issued an opinion.
A Washington D.C. district court judge also ruled in
September that FilmOn X must cease to operate nationwide, except
the region covered by the 2nd Circuit, while the lawsuit brought
by broadcasters there moves forward.
A spokesman for Fox said broadcasters "rely on enforcement
of the law to receive fair value" for their programming, and the
Supreme Court filing "underscores our resolve to see justice
Spokesmen for NBC and CBS declined to comment. ABC did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting By Erin Geiger Smith. Editing by Andre Grenon)