Aereo Ruling: Supreme Court Votes 6-3 in Favor of Broadcasters, Leagues
The Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 vote on Wednesday that upstart streaming-provider Aereo is violating broadcasters’ copyrights by redistributing their signals without consent. The ruling preserves the ability of the broadcast television networks to collect sizable fees from cable/satellite providers that transmit their programming and avoids the potential exodus of major sports programming from broadcast networks to cable or pay-per-view outlets – a move that Major League Baseball, the NFL, and other leagues had threatened to make had Aereo won out in court.
Aereo, the Supreme Court said in the ruling, is violating copyright laws by capturing broadcast signals on miniature antennas and delivering them to subscribers for a fee.
Had the court ruled in Aereo’s favor, several broadcasters had threatened to move their networks’ programming to a pay-tv cable model – including sports programming. In addition, the NFL and MLB – as well as other leagues – had warned that they could transition their television rights to a cable or pay-per-view model should the court rule in favor of Aereo.
Aereo is currently available in 11 major markets – including New York, Atlanta, and Boston – and had previously announced plans to expand to a more than a dozen additional cities. The future of the service, which uses thousands of dime-size antennas to capture television signals and streams them to subscribers’ mobile devices, computers and connected devices for $8-12 a month, is now very much up in the air. Despite raising more than $100 million in venture capital, Aereo CEO Chet Kanjia has openly spoken about the fact that the company has no plan B.