Aereo asked the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday to rule that its service offering local TV station signals on the web is legal, calling itself “the next technological step.”
In a reply brief responding to earlier filings in the court case, the subscription streaming service accused ABC, CBS, NBC and other TV networks fighting its service of engaging in “problematic” claims and ignoring consumers long standing rights to make copies of free over-the-air telecasts.
Aereo argued that because it serves each household from an individual antenna, its transmissions “do not constitute ‘public recordings'” and don’t violate copyright laws.
“Petitioners object that Aereo is a sort of Rube Goldberg device — a clever way to take advantage of existing laws,” said the brief. “But designing technologies to comply with the copyright laws is precisely what companies should do.”
Aereo’s latest filing is the final step in the briefing process before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case on April 22.
However, the TV networks and U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. have previously asked the court to rule that Aereo is engaging in copyright violation by airing the signal of local TV stations over the web without paying retransmission fees.
Verrilli insisted Aereo’s actions amounted to copyright infringement, and that the company must obtain retransmission consent.
Aereo Founder and CEO Chet Kanojia disagrees. In a statement Wednesday, he said the company’s filing demonstrated its “steadfast conviction that Aereo’s cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law” and he warned that a win by broadcasters will be “chilling” to American consumers.
He also cautioned that any decision could have significant impacts on cloud computing and the cloud storage industry.