The ability of television viewers to control and watch programs may be at stake when the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a copyright infringement case brought by TV networks against Aereo, a service that streams over-the-air television online.
Justices will hear arguments from lawyers for 2-year-old Aereo and for a group of companies that operate TV networks, including ABC, CBS, Disney Enterprises, NBC Studios and the Public Broadcasting Service. The plaintiffs argue that Aereo is infringing their copyrights by charging customers a monthly fee to stream over-the-air-broadcasts to their mobile devices and television sets.
Aereo operates data centers filled with tiny TV antennas and leases each subscriber an individual antenna. Subscribers can watch live television or can record broadcasts for later viewing.
Aereo, along with several tech trade groups and consumer advocates that filed briefs in support of the service, argues that the company is simply providing a better antenna and viewing experience for TV stations that are already given away for free over the air.