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TV networks will reportedly seek Supreme Court review of Aereo

Apparently frustrated by conflicting court decisions, broadcasters seek review of decisions on the legality of retransmitting TV signals on the Internet.

Daniel Terdiman/CNET

The nation's television networks will petition the US Supreme Court during the next week to review lower court decisions over the legality of Aereo's retransmission of TV signals on the Internet, Variety reports.

Apparently frustrated with the conflicting courtroom record, the broadcasters have decided to file their petition, or writ of certoriari, by October 15, the entertainment newspaper reported Wednesday night, citing anonymous sources familiar with the case.

CNET has contacted Aereo and the four major broadcast TV networks, which includes CNET parent CBS, for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Aereo, which launched in New York last year, uses antenna/DVR technology to let consumers watch live, local, over-the-air television broadcasts on some Internet-connected devices, including the iPad and iPhone. That capability provoked a lawsuit from TV broadcast giants including NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS, which allege that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them retransmission fees.

However, thus far, the networks have been unsuccessful at shutting down Aereo, which argues it is merely providing consumers with the individual antennas but not access to the content.

The 2nd US Court of Appeals in April denied networks' request for preliminary injunction against Aereo, finding that the networks had "not demonstrated that they are likely to prevail on the merits of this claim in their copyright infringement action." In July, a federal appeals court turned away the networks' request to review the decision.

Aereo, which has been busy expanding its service beyond New York, also faces lawsuits in Boston and Utah.

Meanwhile, streaming rival FilmOn X has not succeeded at winning much favor from the courts. Finding that FilmOn X "is hardly akin to an individual user stringing up a television antenna on the roof," the US District Court of D.C. hit the Aereo-like service last month with a preliminary injunction, preventing it from retransmitting networks' programming in most of the nation.

The major networks originally sued FilmOn a week after the service launched and were eventually granted a preliminary injunction by the 9th US Court of Appeals last December. However, that decision covered only California and other western states in the geographic area served by the 9th Circuit. Not covered by the District Court's decision are the northeastern states covered by the 2nd Circuit's Aereo decision.

(Via The Verge)