Sports leagues support broadcasters in Aereo fight

The chorus calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Aereo's legality grew louder last week, with the NFL and Major League Baseball among the highest-profile voices joining in.

Last month, broadcasters asked the high court to review a decision by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that let Aereo continue operating while a trial over its legality plays out in a federal court in New York City. The sports leagues filed a brief with the court last week supporting that appeal, arguing that Aereo's methods upend years of settled copyright law and put at risk the value of broadcasting high-profile sports events.

The leagues seem especially concerned with the possibility that Aereo or a similarly-engineered service could offer out-of-market games over the Internet. "Although Aereo currently confines its unlicensed service locally... the legal theory adopted by the Second Circuit does not require Aereo to do so," the leagues said in a brief filed with the court.

But the leagues sell those rights to other distributors and sometimes keep them for themselves to sell access to games directly to viewers. The lower court's decision "empowers Aereo and similar services to destroy marketplace-negotiated exclusivity," they wrote.

Viacom (Nasdaq: VIA), Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), the National Association of Broadcasters, the Copyright Alliance and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers each filed briefs as well.

For more:
Time had this report
The Verge had this report

Commentary: Trying to rewrite the online video rules

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