Washington • The Supreme Court will decide whether a startup company can offer live television broadcasts over the Internet without paying fees to broadcasters.
The high court agreed on Friday to hear an appeal from television broadcast networks in their attempt to shut down Aereo Inc. The company takes free signals from the airwaves and sends them over the Internet to paying subscribers.
Broadcasters have sued Aereo for copyright infringement. Broadcasters have supplemented their advertising revenue with fees from cable and satellite TV companies for redistributing their stations to subscribers. If customers drop their pay-TV service and use Aereo, broadcasters claim they would lose some of that revenue.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year Aereo did not violate the copyrights of broadcasters with its service.
Aereo, which is based in New York City, also is fighting a separate lawsuit filed by three Utah television broadcasters, including KSTU Channel 13, KUTV Channel 2 and KTVX Channel 4.
The stations filed the suit against Aereo in October, also claiming the company violates copyright law. The service was launched in Utah last August.
Meanwhile, the company earlier this week secured a third round of financing totalling $34 million.
Tribune reporter Vince Horiuchi contributed to this report.