Fox may have been making an empty threat when it said it would go the paid TV route, if Aereo continued to stream its content online. But, that doesn't mean the broadcasters were just going to stomp their feet and let the start up carry on with it's plans to expand its streaming and cloud DVR offerings. Today, a group that includes not only Fox, but ABC, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, PBS and CBS petitioned the Supreme Court to hear their case. Lower courts have refused to grant an injunction against Aereo, completely tossing out claims of unfair competition en route to the steps of the Supreme Court.
The broadcasters' case relies on convincing judges that streaming terrestrial television signals qualifies as a "public performance," and as such is a violation of the Copyright Act. Aereo counters that its thousands of antennas that are assigned to each subscriber are no different than a consumer going out and purchasing an antenna themselves. Essentially, they're claiming that customers aren't paying so much for the stream itself, as the antenna and the location where it's mounted. Much of Aereo's case is built upon a precedent set in 2008, when Cablevision won a case regarding its remote DVR service.
Of course, the companies will have to convince the Supreme Court to hear its case in the first place. The 209 page petition (which you can read here) lays out its case and asks the highest court in our nation to make a decision whether or not the rebroadcast is, in fact, a public performance. It might be sometime before we know whether or not Chief Justice Roberts and crew will listen to arguments from the parties concerned, but rest assured we'll be watching this story closely.