Aereo, which seeks to provide streaming versions of over-the-air broadcast networks to paying subscribers on iPads and other devices, hasn't even launched yet — but it's already entrenching for what could be a protracted legal battle with the very content providers it hopes to carry. Responding to a suit filed by ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major networks several days ago, Aereo roundly denies allegations that it's business model is in violation of copyright laws: "Consumers use the Aereo Technology to do no more than what they are entitled to do," the counterclaim reads, asking for a judgment against the plaintiffs ruling that there's no infringement. "Indeed, beginning as early as April 2011, Aereo executives met with high-level executives of certain of the Counterclaim Defendants and described the Aereo Technology in these meetings." If Aereo's claims are true, then, it would seem that the networks knew of Aereo's game plan for some time, but it wasn't until mere days before the service's New York City launch — this Wednesday — that the first suit rolled in.
The current countersuit doesn't cover all of the original plaintiffs — Fox and PBS are notably excluded — but Aereo says that an additional filing will appear "in due course." In the meantime, there's no indication that the planned March 14th launch won't go off as scheduled, but it would seem that the situation could change rapidly depending on the legal proceedings.