WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Online television service FilmOn X LLC is asking the Supreme Court to let it argue in behalf of competitor Aereo Inc, whose use of television broadcast signals is being challenged by the four major U.S. broadcasters.
The case, to be argued in April, will determine whether both companies can continue with their practice of using network content without paying licensing fees.
The broadcasters claim both services violate their copyrights and represent a threat to their ability to control subscription fees and generate advertising.
FilmOn X said in a statement on Monday that it will file court papers asking to participate in the one-hour oral argument and in the written briefing of the case.
The broadcasters, Walt Disney Co’s ABC network, CBS Corp, Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, sought high court review after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled for Aereo in April.
FilmOn X has been involved in litigation similar to that faced by Aereo. The company has appeals pending before the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after losing in lower courts.
David Frederick, a lawyer for Aereo, said in an email the company would oppose the motion.
Except for the federal government, the Supreme Court rarely grants motions like the one filed by FilmOn X. If the request is denied, FilmOn X could still file a friend-of-the-court brief in the case.
If the court were to grant the request, it would likely mean Aereo would have less time for oral arguments before the Supreme Court’s justices.
Aereo, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, and FilmOn X, founded by Internet entrepreneur Alki David, use similar technology that allows viewers to watch network television on mobile devices. The images are captured via remote antennas. Users then receive the content via the Internet.
The case is ABC v. Aereo Inc, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-461.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Ted Botha and Steve Orlofsky