Barry Diller: Shutting Down Aereo Would Have ‘Profound Effect’ on Technology (Video)

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“What if there was no telephone?” asks the IAC chairman, an investor in TV streaming service targeted by networks in Supreme Court case

If the Supreme Court decides to shut down Aereo it will have “profound effects on the development of technology,” IAC chairman Barry Diller said Sunday.

“It’s almost like saying, ‘what if there was no telephone?,” said Diller. “If they stop it — which they very well may — I don’t think it’s the end of any world because we’ll not really know, but I think … if it stops, it will have profound effects on the developments of technology.”

Diller’s comments, made in an interview with Brian Stelter on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday morning, were his first since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case pitting Aereo against major broadcasters.

Also read: Aereo at the Supreme Court: 5 Takeaways

CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox have sued, maintaining that Aereo is infringing on their copyright by streaming free, over-the-air TV and sending it to subscribers over the Internet. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief in support of the broadcasters.

Two federal courts sided with Aereo in decisions made last year, but broadcasters won a third court battle.

Aereo maintains that it doesn’t run afoul of copyright law, as it provides each subscriber with access to an individual tiny antenna which captures broadcasters’ streams. That constitutes “private performances” it says, not “public performances,” which are subject to copyright law.

Also read: Why Aereo’s Supreme Court Case Matters

Diller, who said he thinks Aereo has a 50 percent chance of winning, told Stelter that he didn’t realize initially that the case would become so significant to technology overall. But he said that it wouldn’t necessarily “change the way we watch TV.”

“Aereo if it’s successful, together with other services, may change and give competition to the closed system of satellite or cable. That’s what it may do.”

InterActive Corp. is a New York City-based internet company with more than 50 brands across 40 countries. Diller, who is the chairman and chief executive, was previously head of Paramount Pictures, Fox Broadcasting and USA Broadcasting.

Here’s the CNN interview: