Aereo founder and CEO Kanojia accused broadcasters Wednesday of being “wrong” in their copyright violation claims against the company.
“It is not a copyright case,” Kanojia stated. “It is a business model case.”
Speaking at the annual American Cable Association summit, Kanojia claimed that Aereo’s upcoming April 22 case in the U.S. Supreme Court is not about copyright violations, and that those involved are talking out of “both sides of their mouth” on the case’s potential financial impact. He also claimed that the highly-compensated broadcast company leaders have lost their way in regards to their accusations that Aereo is a violating copyrights.
“You take a step back. The top three guys make nearly a billion dollars a year. When they make that much money, they forget right and wrong,” Kanojia said.
Kanojia argued that Aereo’s service, which allows consumers to see local TV stations over the web, doesn’t give consumers any new right to see a public performance of copyrighted works. It simply allows consumers with a legal right to watch a program using a home antenna to see the exact same program on their computer and phone.
“It mirrors what you can do at home If you say a performance of every work ever created is a public performance, you can’t sing in the shower,” he said.
Kanojia suggested that because current law lets consumers use home antennas wired to their TV sets to receive local TV stations, the real debate at the court in the Aereo case is “how long the wire can be.”
He also claimed that broadcasters who were given public spectrum in return for airing their programming are seeking payments to which they are not entitled. The CEO went on to say that Aereo uses new technology and cloud-based computing to assist consumers in doing that which they are already entitled to do: Watch TV or record a program on their DVR.
“This is something freely available,” Kanojia stated. “It is [consumers’] right, to watch TV. We just create it in the cloud.”
But Kanojia and his company are not surprised by the fierce stance broadcasters are taking against his company.
“We understood this would be a difficult road,” he said. “Not only recruited a team of engineers, but a team of lawyers.”