NFL, MLB Urge Supreme Court to Take Aereo Case

Sports would move to pay TV, leagues argue

The National Football League and Major League Baseball have joined with broadcasters in asking the Supreme Court to shut down Aereo. In an amicus brief filed with the court, the NFL and MLB said that the lower court decisions supporting Aereo's business model would damage the leagues' business model, which relies on lucrative licensing deals with broadcasters.

Broadcasters petitioned the Supreme Court last month to review their copyright infringement case against the streaming TV service, which gets around the copyright law by renting a dime-sized antenna to subscribers. Since then, a number of briefs have been filed with the court supporting the broadcasters' petition, including cable companies like Time Warner and Viacom, and copyright organizations like the Copyright Alliance.

Aereo's response to the petition is due Dec. 12.

The NFL currently licenses to CBS, Fox and NBC the rights to televise all of its playoff games, including the Super Bowl and about 90 percent of its regular season games. MLB licenses broadcasters the rights to televise about 400 games a year. If Aereo is allowed to skirt the Copyright Act, the leagues, argue, it will move sports content to paid cable networks, impacting 11 million homes that rely on free over-the-air TV.

"The revenues from these packages are an important source of income that permits the leagues and their member clubs to provide the entertainment product that millions of fans worldwide are able to enjoy," the leagues' attorneys wrote.