In a decision that favored the TV industry, the Supreme Court ruled today that online streaming startup Aereo’s business goes against the Copyright Act. The 6–3 decision pleased the likes of CBS, ABC, and other broadcast networks, who sued the startup for making their channels available online without paying the customary retransmission fees.
Launched in 2012, Aereo allowed users to watch and record broadcast television channels through the cloud. By subscribing to Aereo, users were essentially paying for miniature antennas, which picked up broadcast signals and made them available online and on mobile devices. This did not sit well with the TV world, with some networks even going as far as to suggest that they would switch to cable had Aereo won the Supreme Court case.
Meanwhile, Aereo’s chief executive Chet Kanojia called the Supreme Court’s ruling a “massive setback for the American consumer” as well as a “chilling message to the technology industry.”
The TV-streaming company had raised approximately $97 million from investors, having launched in eleven markets. Barry Diller of IAC, an Aereo investor, echoed that “blocking this technology is a big loss for consumers,” adding in his statement that he “salute[s] Chet Kanojia and his band of Aereo’lers for fighting the good fight.”