Aereo, a television streaming service, took its case to the Supreme Court and lost.
The technology behind their service captured broadcast signals on miniature antennas, and then delivered the shows to subscribers for a monthly fee. Broadcast networks claimed that the service violated their copyright laws, and the Supreme Court agreed in a 6-to-3 decision. The court deemed that Aereo’s business model was no more than a high-tech approach to content theft.
What does this mean for Aereo? As a result of the ruling, the existing Aereo devices can stay in existence but no more will be manufactured or marketed. Broadcasters across the board applauded the ruling. CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves stated that “For two years they have been in existence, trying to hurt our business. They fought the good fight. They lost. Time to move on.”
Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s founder and chief executive painted a darker picture for the ruling. He claims it was a massive setback for consumers, and “sends a chilling message about the technology industry.” Although the company has no plan B in the works, Kanojia claimed that they would continue to “fight to create innovative technologies.”
Closely-watched case. The entire case was closely watched by media and technology industries, due to the ongoing shifting in entertainment and technology changes in the last several years. There are an increasing number of consumers who are cancelling traditional subscriptions in favor of streaming television alternatives. By streaming the shows directly, technology like Aereo blocks broadcasters from using one of their vital revenue streams – income from cable and satellite companies for retransmission fees.
However, the justices made it clear that their decision was specifically about Aereo’s service and that matters regarding cloud computing, remote storage DVRs and other entertainment technology need to be decided on separately. It is unclear how soon the ruling will affect current Aereo subscribers in about a dozen metropolitan areas across the U.S.