Telecommunications conglomerates seek Supreme Court decision on Aereo legality

By Marc Castro

Oct 11, 2013 11:06 PM EDT

A group of the largest media conglomerates in the United States have gone to the US Supreme Court to seek a ruling on the legality of the operations of Aereo Inc. Aereo Inc provides broadcast signals for online viewership.

The petition was filed by representatives of 21st Century Fox Inc., CBS Corp., Comcast Corp. NBCUniversal, the Public Broadcasting Service, Univision Communications Inc., Walt Disney Co., WNET and WPIX stations after the lower courts found in favor of Aereo.

Aereo is threatening to cut down the USD3 billion in fees that broadcast station owners would be receiving from pay-TV systems which provides signals to its subscriber base. Aereo utilizes thousands of small antennae to capture free TV signals and transmits the same to paying customers over the Internet. Should this be declared as legal, then pay-TV systems can then offer a workaround to avoid payment of so-called 'retransmission fees'. 

According to Fox spokesman Dan Berger, through an emailed statement, "Today's filing underscores our resolve to see justice done. Make no mistake, Aereo is stealing our broadcast signal."

For its part, Aereo spokesperson Virginia Lam said by an email that the company would be responding to the Supreme Court petition 'in due course'. 

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