By Steve Donohue, FierceCable, October 11, 2013
| In an attempt to force Aereo to shutter its local TV platform, Fox, | NBC, ABC and CBS filed a petition at the U.S. Supreme Court Friday | in which they argue copyright laws that have allowed Cablevision to | launch its network DVR don't protect Aereo's platform.
| The petition could be a game changer for Aereo, which has a made a | business of selling access to local broadcast signals that it | captures with arrays of dime-sized antennas, and converts to | HTML5. Aereo stores programming on a network-based DVR, and | transmits the content to customers who pay it $8 monthly to watch TV | on mobile devices and Web browsers.
| Broadcasters argue in the petition that Aereo designed its system to | exploit what they described as a loophole in copyright law which has | allowed Cablevision to launch its network DVR. In 2008, the Supreme | Court declined to review an appellate court ruling which found the | MSO's network-based DVR didn't violate copyright law.
| This elaborate [Aereo] system of thousands of miniature antennas and | digital copies is not easier, more efficient, or more | technologically advanced than other retransmission systems. Rather, | it is a 'Rube Goldberg-like contrivance' designed for a single | reason: to take advantage of [the] perceived loophole in the law," | the broadcasters state in the petition.
The plaintiffs' petition is here:
I note with interest that plaintiffs cite "Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists Television, Inc." in their petition (page 5). Fortnightly is one of the fundamental cases in the history of the cable TV industry. I've discussed it before in this space, most recently here: