Aereo is a popular streaming application that’s provides TV broadcasts for a low-monthly fee in markets such as New York City, Boston, Detroit, Miami and others. It has been accused of stealing broadcast content before, and it’s now coming under fire from the NFL and MLB.
Nationwide broadcasters aren’t happy with the Aereo business model. First, it’s using and charging for their content without permission, and second, it has the potential to eat into revenues from retransmissions. Now, Major League Baseball and the National Football League are taking sides with nationwide broadcasters and, according to Variety, have filed paperwork warning the Supreme Court that Aereo could push free sports broadcasts to cable networks, far away from Aereo’s reaches.
“If copyright holders lose their exclusive retransmission licensing rights and the substantial benefits derived from those rights when they place programming on broadcast stations, those stations will become less attractive mediums for distributing copyrighted content,” a petition from both leagues obtained by Variety says. As such, paid cable networks such as ESPN could potentially be better places to broadcast live sports games, since Aereo and its users wouldn’t be able to access that content without permission. And the leagues have a financial interest, too, since they make about a third of the $300 million in revenues earned by the league’s broadcast partners.
Aereo has argued its technology is perfectly legal. It may be, though if entire sports leagues are losing money on the service, then it’s also in their own right to move the broadcasts elsewhere.