The legal dispute between some of the United States’ largest broadcasting corporations and the startup known as Aereo is set to reach its climax soon at the U.S Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is expected to make a final verdict on the case by the end of the summer. The final decision has the potential to significantly influence the manner in which TV users interact with content. Despite the fact that legal professionals continue to be in dispute regarding the matter, Aereo is still hugely considered an underdog in the battle.

Aereo has explicitly communicated that it believes its services are in accordance with behaviour that consumers already exhibit. The company uses a number of TV antennas to receive signals from various stations, even allowing a single antenna for each individual user. Users are able to stream content from these stations to their mobile devices, like phones and tablets, without the use of an integrated antenna in their homes. The service also provides a video recording feature that can be accessed using the Internet.

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However, major broadcasting companies like ABC, Fox, NBC, Univision and CBS have argued that Aereo is violating copyright law, distributing content without prior authorization or retransmission fee payments. A suit was filed by these corporations in New York in February, 2012. The lawsuit itself comes as no surprise, especially in light of the fact that Aereo’s service poses numerous threats to the lucrative opportunities that broadcasting corporations can make use of.

Signals from TV stations are freely sent across public airwaves, but users are required to receive them via a subscription to a satellite or cable company. These companies pay such TV stations ‘retransmission fees’, for the right to distribute them. However, if the Supreme Court sides with Aereo on the matter, ‘retransmission fees’ will no longer need to be paid to TV stations.

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