Anne Sweeney, President of Disney-ABC Television Group, has branded the Barry Diller-backed Aereo online TV service as “opportunistic piracy”. Interviewed at the AllThingsDigital conference, Sweeney said: “I think Aereo is wrong, it is illegal, and it is opportunistic piracy, It’s taking advantage of our content, of our creative community, and using it for their own gain. That’s why we’re prosecuting it, and we will continue to do so.”
ABC is among the major networks that are pursuing court actions against Aereo alleging copyright infringement. Diller contends that the broadcasters have access to public airwaves in exchange for providing that content to viewers without pay, and that Aereo does the same thing that a traditional antenna used to do.
Addressing the conference earlier, Diller argued that as the audience grew, the networks could charge advertisers for the increased audience. He suggested that cord-cutting was under way, and an inevitability. “The idea of spending thousands of dollars for a package of cable channels you don’t watch doesn’t make sense,” he said.