Aereo, the TV streaming company backed by media mogul Barry Diller, was today declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
Aereo has been streaming into its customers sitting rooms via their computers and their other electronic devices since 2012. It does this without paying a charge for its content since it captures the over-the-air signals of network broadcasters and then streams the signals onto its customers’ computers.
However, unsurprisingly, the big US network broadcasters were not impressed that Aereo was snatching content from the air rather than paying fees like the cable TV channels. This resulted in broadcasters including ABC, CBS and Fox filing a Petition to the Supreme Court after an Appeals Court in New York rejected their call for a ban on the service.
In the Supreme Court the network broadcasters claimed that the service was making a “public performance” of their shows – violating the Copyright Act of 1976 which gives the copyright owner the “exclusive right” to “perform the copyrighted work publicly.”
In its defence, Aereo argued that its antennae meant it was facilitating thousands of individual performances and not a public performance and that the Petition was an attack on innovation.
Unfortunately for Aereo, the Supreme Court agreed with the network broadcasters, its ruling closes the loophole in the law preventing Aereo from streaming further content to its customers.
In response to the ruling, Barry Diller told CNBC that “We did try, but it’s over now”.