Aereo has some heavy hitters lining up to back the company in its fight against the major broadcast networks in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Google, Microsoft, Dish Network and EchoStar were among many corporations, trade organizations and legal groups that filed amicus briefs in favor of Aereo in the case of Aereo vs. ABC that will be heard by the Supreme Court on April 22.

The fight is over whether Aereo is legally obligated to pay the broadcasters for programming it picks up from over-the-air signals and then sends on to subscribers, who pay Aereo to view the shows.

Aereo uses its own tiny antennas placed in cities where over-the-air broadcasts can be picked up. It then uploads the television broadcast programming to DVRs stored in data centers from where individuals can watch it at their convenience on a TV or mobile device.

Aereo does not pay for snatching up the signals. The company believes it gets around having to pay the broadcasters by noting that its technology merely captures over-the-air signals, which are free to all, then stores them on servers where specific customers can then stream the shows. In a sense, Aereo says it is simply extending the over-the-air right available to all Americans.

The broadcasters were not without their supporters as the U.S. Solicitor General sided with them in a friend of the court brief last month.

But for the most part, the heavy hitters are in Aereo's corner.

The broadcast networks are claiming that Aereo's business model is tantamount to stealing and if the Supreme Court finds in favor of Aereo, then the large cable and satellite operations in the United States could start similar services and no longer have to shell out big bucks for some of their programming. In addition, the broadcasters said they believe the action is in violation of the Copyright Act of 1976.

Dish did cover itself with its legal team suggesting that if the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo, it should do so in a narrow fashion.

"Even if Congress intended to prevent free riding by commercial intermediaries on the public performance right, it never intended to authorize copyright holders to charge the public repeatedly just to access their lawful copy of a work at a different time or place," Dish said in its brief.

Not surprisingly, small- and medium-sized cable operators would also like to see Aereo chalk up a victory. These companies, through the American Cable Association, said an Aereo win would create a path that would allow them to circumvent what these operators consider expensive and unfair fees charged by the broadcasters to retransmit their programming.

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