Top Court to Hear Aereo TV Case10 Jan, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
The U.S. Supreme Court Jan. 10 said it will hear the appeal filed by a group of broadcasters against Aereo TV and its subscription-based digital retransmission service.
Aereo charges subscribers $8 monthly to watch and record live broadcast television via cloud-based antenna/DVR technology. Users can pause and rewind any program that they are watching live, or save a program for future viewing.
Network broadcasters, which include CBS, ABC, PBS, Univision, NBC and Fox, claim Aereo repurposes their content without paying a retransmission fee. Thus far, the networks have failed to convince a lower court judge on their point of view. In October, the networks and Aereo petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said the company looks forward to presenting its case, which he contends underscores consumers' rights to access local over-the-air television with an individual antenna on a portable media device.
“This case is critically important not only to Aereo, but to the entire cloud computing and cloud storage industry,” Kanojia said in a statement.
He said the 2009 decision in the Cablevision litigation provided clarity for the cloud industry and helped foster investment, growth and innovation in the sector. Kanojia said the challenges outlined in the broadcasters’ filing indicate they are using Aereo as a proxy to attack the Cablevision decision and undermine the cloud computing and storage industry.
The Cablevision decision found that cable operators could allow subscribers to record and watch shows on demand without getting a DVR or watching commercials.
“We remain unwavering in our confidence that Aereo’s technology falls squarely within the law and our team will continue to work hard to provide our consumers with best-in-class technology that delights and adds meaningful value to their lives.” Kanojia said.
In a joint statement, broadcasters said they welcome the opportunity to try their case at the highest level.
”We are confident the court will recognize that this has never been about stifling new video distribution technologies, but has always been about stopping a copyright violator who redistributes television programming without permission or compensation," said the broadcasters.