Supreme Court Rules Video Streaming Company Aereo Violates Copyright Laws

| News

The U.S. Supreme Court handed Aereo a ruling on Wednesday saying the online video streaming company has been violating copyright law by transmitting broadcast TV content over the Internet. Fox, NBC, ABC, and other broadcasters accused Aereo of essentially stealing their programming and reselling it through a paid online service.

Aereo gets a kick in the pants from Supreme CourtAereo gets a kick in the pants from Supreme Court

Aereo captured over the air signals from TV stations, and then offered the content for online streaming as a service. The major networks claimed the company's business model cut them out of millions of dollars local affiliates pay for exclusive rights to rebroadcast shows.

That revenue is so critical that the networks would've stopped transmitting over the air signals if the courts hadn't ruled in their favor, according to the New York Times.

What Aereo gave its customers was content anyone could watch by connecting an antenna to their television, but they could watch on their computer, smartphone, or tablet. Instead of selling the content, however, Aereo rented antennas to subscribers they could control remotely to watch the shows they wanted.

That distinction didn't matter to the networks, and the courts agreed. With the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the networks, Aereo is essentially dead in the water.


Lee Dronick

  the Supreme Court ruling takes away one of the options available to viewers looking for ways to break free from cable and satellite TV channel packages.

The way I read the ruling Aereo can still deliver content, they just need to pay copyright fees.

Larry Rice

Another critical element of Aero’s business plan: the service can only be used while in your subscribed market.  I was a subscriber in New York, for example, and couldn’t watch if I was outside the metropolitan area. Aero’s theory was that I could use their service, just as if the antenna was on my own TV at home. Time to invest in a Slingbox or Tivo, I guess.


It was a most shocking decision, made by people that didn’t seem to have a clear grasp of technology, or even of who owns the public airwaves, namely us. If I were to capture and wifi-stream my broadcast television for my neighbor’s use, would I be breaking the law? Apparently.

It was even more shocking for me to find myself on the same side as dissenting Justices, Scalia, Alito and Thomas.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account