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Aereo will now likely be shutting down soon, and the company is clearly disappointed after the Supreme Court’s decision to side with the broadcast networks. The company called it a “massive setback for American consumers,” while media mogul and investor Barry Diller has admitted that it’s over.
Earlier today, the court ruled 6-3 in favor of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, which all argued that Aereo was violating copyright laws by not paying licensing fees to carry their content. Aereo had long countered with the idea that it was just a service that gave consumers access to over-the-air broadcasts just like an old-fashioned TV antennae, but the Court didn’t buy it.
In a statement, Aereo CEO/founder Chet Kanojia called the decision a “chilling message to the technology industry.”
“We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done,” Kanojia continued. “ We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world.”
Diller was a major investor in Aereo and told CNBC that the company is over. However, he praised the work of Kanojia and his staff.
“We did try, but it's over now,” Diller said, later adding, “It's not a big [financial] loss for us, but I do believe blocking this technology is a big loss for consumers, and beyond that I only salute Chet Kanojia and his band of Aereo'lers for fighting the good fight.”
For the networks, this was a huge victory as it again limited access to its content to those who pay the highest prices. The reason cable and satellite bills are so high is that the companies pay the broadcast networks the licensing fees that Aereo was not paying. In addition, the networks can limit online access to their content through major streaming sites, their own sites and their own mobile apps.
Aereo has not said how long it will remain operational for its customers.
image of Barry Diller courtesy of Walter McBride/INFphoto.com