Supreme Court Sets Date for Aereo Case

Could end in a landmark decision

Mark your calendar. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments between broadcasters and Aereo on April 22, according to the oral argument calendar released by the court on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, ABC TV v. Aereo, a month ago, after broadcasters, including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and others, petitioned the court. Aereo didn't oppose the petition and in fact, welcomed it, hoping to settle once and for all a flurry of cases brought against the streaming service in many of the markets where Aereo has launched.

At issue for the court is whether Aereo "publicly performs" a copyrighted TV program when it retransmits a broadcast of that program to paid subscribers over the Internet.

Broadcasters, which have been fighting Aereo since launch, contend that the company's business of renting a small, personal antenna to pick up broadcast signals and stream them over the Internet violates their copyright. Aereo argues that it is merely renting subscribers an antenna, constituting a personal performance.

Both parties have a lot at stake in the case. Broadcasters stand to lose lucrative retransmission fees from Aereo and other cloud-based services. If the court decides in broadcasters' favors, Aereo could be out of business.

Briefs from broadcasters are due Feb. 24 and March 3; Aereo must file by March 26 and April 2.

Justice Samuel Alito is recused from the case because of stock his family owns in Disney.