Advanced Television

Aereo confident about Supreme Court battle

March 27, 2014

By Colin Mann

Aereo Founder and CEO Chet Kanojia says the Internet TV streaming service has “hope and confidence” that the US Supreme Court will find in its favour when the copyright action brought against it by a group of broadcasters is heard April 22nd, warning that a decision against Aereo would upend and cripple the entire cloud industry. Kanojia’s comments came as the company filed a response brief in the case. Aereo also confirmed that amicus (friend of court) briefs in support of Aereo would be filed April 2.

Kanojia said that in December 2013, the operator decided to not oppose the broadcasters’ petition for certiorari (a decision by the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from a lower court) before the United States Supreme Court.

“Today, we filed our response brief setting forth the basis for our steadfast conviction that Aereo’s cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law. We have every confidence that the Court will validate and preserve a consumer’s right to access local over-the-air television using an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice,” he declared.

“The broadcasters are asking the Court to deny consumers the ability to use the cloud to access a more modern-day television antenna and DVR. They are asking the Court to confine consumers to outdated equipment and limit their access to lawful technology in order to protect a legacy business model, the success of which is built on eliminating consumer choice and competition in the marketplace. Broadcasters should not be able to use the Courts or misuse the Copyright Act to drive forward what they believe are their most lucrative business models, at the expense of consumers,” he stated, warning that if the broadcasters succeed, the consequences to American consumers and the cloud industry are “chilling”.

“The long-standing landmark Second Circuit decision in Cablevision has served as a crucial underpinning to the cloud computing and cloud storage industry. The broadcasters have made clear they are using Aereo as a proxy to attack Cablevision itself. A decision against Aereo would upend and cripple the entire cloud industry,” he warned.

“Since the beginning of television, consumers have had a fundamental right to watch over-the-air broadcast television using an individual antenna, and they have had the right to record copies for their personal use since the US Supreme Court Sony Betamax decision in 1984. These are rights that should be protected and preserved as they have been for generations. We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court on April 22 and we have every hope and confidence that the Court will continue validate and preserve a consumer’s right to use lawful technology innovations like Aereo,” he concluded.

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