The way we watch television in this country isn’t going to change anytime soon. The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that television streaming startup Aereo violates copyright laws by capturing over-the-air signals using an array of mini antennas and delivering said content to subscribers for a fee.
Aereo could continue to operate by paying licensing fees to broadcasters but that could get expensive considering they only charge customers $8 per month. The company could also reinvent itself to try and find yet another loophole but that seems unlikely.
The 6-3 ruling in favor of broadcasters is essentially a death blow to the service. Earlier this year, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said that if it’s a total straight-up loss, then it’s dead and they’re done. By all accounts, that appears to be what happened today.
In a statement on the matter, Gordon Smith, CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, said they are pleased the Supreme Court has upheld the concept of copyright protection that is enshrined in the Constitution by standing with free and local television. He added that Aereo characterized their lawsuit as an attack on innovation – a claim he says is demonstrably false.
Backed by billionaire Barry Diller, Aereo launched in 2012 and was immediately met with legal issues. The startup scored some key victories early on but appears to now be dead in the water.