Early adopters of Aereo may need to look for another way to access over the air broadcasts. In what represents a major victory for broadcasters, the Supreme Court has finally delivered their verdict on Aereo and it’s not good. In a 6 to 3 vote the Supreme Court has decided that Aereo is essentially illegal and either needs to pay copyright fees to broadcasters or cease and desist operations.


For those of you not familiar with Aereo, it basically offered HD Antennas that grabbed over the air signals and allowed users to stream live TV broadcasts via their internet connection or record live tv on a cloud hosted DVR. These services were offered for only $8 to $12 a month. The two year start-up company had been in and out of court since it’s inception battling major television networks prior to the case coming before the Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Breyer stated that “Behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish Aereo’s system from cable systems. Congress would as much have intended to protect a copyright holder from the unlicensed activities of Aereo as from those of cable companies.”


Aereo had argued that if the court sided against them, it could have dire implications to cloud computing services in general. Since the advent of cloud services, the industry has earnestly stated that streaming is legal as long as the files in question were obtained legally. The Supreme Court strongly stated that their judgment was against Aereo specifically and should not be misinterpreted as condemnation against cloud storage and services.


The Supreme Court’s decision effectively overturns Aereo’s previous court victories. At this point Aereo has few options left. Aereo’s Chief Executive Chet Kanojia stated “We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world.” Although with the Supreme Court’s latest ruling, it’s doubtful Aereo has much fight left.



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