Aereo Asks Justices to Settle Fight With Broadcasters

, The National Law Journal

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Aereo remote TV antenna
Aereo remote TV antenna

The networks have long relied on the “settled law” that third parties including cable and satellite operators pay for authorization to transmit their programming, they write. “The broadcast television industry has invested billions of dollars producing and assembling high-quality and creative entertainment and news programming in reliance on this legal regime, which prevents retransmission services from free-riding on broadcasters’ investments.”

Major League Baseball and the National Football League have weighed in on the side of the networks. In a brief by Robert Garrett of Arnold & Porter, the sports organizations warn that they might have to move all their games to paid cable networks like ESPN to thwart the Aereo model. “The decision below judicially empowers Aereo and similar services to destroy marketplace-negotiated exclusivity,” the brief states.

In a separate brief, the National Association of Broadcasters urges the high court to put a quick end to Aereo’s “Rube Goldberg-like” system of transmitting shows to its customers.

Frederick's brief for Aereo asserts that its transmission model is in keeping with the "essential bargain" made by broadcasters for broadcast spectrum in return for allowing consumers to receive and record on-air programs. The transmission goes to each customer separately, Aereo claims, "not to the public."

Contact Tony Mauro at tmauro@alm.com.

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