Why so many want Aereo to beat broadcasters in the Supreme Court

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Precious little is known about Aereo, the online video startup that doesn't say how many subscribers it has in its select number of markets.

Yet as it prepares to argue its legality before the Supreme Court in late April, the company has captured the attention and imagination of the media and technology world. That's because the company, funded in part by IAC chairman Barry Diller, could upend the television industry if the high court decides that its capture of broadcast television signals doesn't violate copyright law.

Turns out many want to change the way the television industry works -- where programmers such as Fox, NBC Universal and ABC (Disney) charge cable and satellite firms enormous licensing fees and cable companies push fat and expensive bundles of channels on consumers.

Aereo's supporters came out in force in a string of amicus filings to the Supreme Court ahead of an April 22 hearing. In the filings, Dish satellite, smaller cable firms and even some small broadcasters argued that Aereo isn't violating copyright laws as alleged by every major television broadcasting firm. They, too, would like to get broadcast content without paying for ever-increasing retransmission fees.

Why so many want Aereo to beat broadcasters in the Supreme Court