Aereo, which is backed by IAC Chairman Barry Diller, uses tiny individual antennas to let consumers watch live, local broadcasts on some Internet-connected devices and store shows in a cloud-based DVR. Television giants including Disney’s ABC, CBS, Fox, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal sued Aereo, alleging that the service violates their copyrights and that Aereo must pay them.
Given the sheer volume of petitions the Supreme Court receives, it’s highly unusual for a case to be heard there. Of the roughly 10,000 petitions received every year, the court grants and hears oral arguments for about 75 to 80, less than 1 percent.
The decision to hear the Aereo case is even more atypical in that different lower courts haven’t reached different decisions on the case yet — what is known as a circuit split. It’s a common rationale for justices to grant certiori and agree to hear cases if there is a circuit split.
However, though there is no official circuit split, the networks have been filing lawsuits against Aereo in virtually every district it launches, creating multiple identical lawsuits across the country.