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 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.