Aereo tells Supreme Court it would stifle technology if it sides with broadcast networks

By Daniel S Levine,

With less than a month to go before oral arguments begin before the U.S. Supreme Court, Aereo has filed one last response brief in its battle with ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS. The upstart tech company told the Supreme Court that a ruling against them would stifle technological developments and that it did not violate copyright laws.

Aereo is the affordable service that allows subscribers to stream over-the-air broadcasts. The company claims that it is just a tool consumers can use to access free broadcasts, just like a TV antennae. The networks say that Aereo is violating copyright laws by not paying them the same licensing fees traditional cable and satellite providers pay. Aereo also offers DVR storage, which the networks also aren’t pleased with.

For its part, the networks have threatened to go off-the-air if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Aereo. But in its own latest filing to the highest court, Aereo said it is not violating copyrights, reports CNET.

“Under the Copyright Act, petitioners have no right to royalties at all for retransmissions of their content within the original broadcast market,” the briefing reads. “This Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves.”

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Aereo also said that a ruling against it would hurt “the cloud computing industry.” The ruling would effectively state that all cloud stage providers are infringing on copyrights.

Aereo also suggested that its service is the latest step in technology, following VCRs and DVRs. “This case simply concerns the next technological step: allowing a consumer to access broadcast programming using an Internet-connected device coupled with a remotely located, individually assigned antenna and segregated video storage,” the company said.

Oral arguments in the case start on April 22.



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