Media

Aereo terminates service following Supreme Court ruling

Above: Will Aereo stay dead?

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Aereo is about to hit the off-switch on its video streaming service.

The media startup, which streamed broadcast television over the web for cheap, has “decided to pause [its] operations temporarily” following a copyright infringement ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Aereo will suspend its service at 11:30 AM EST today, announced Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia in a statement to customers this morning.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo was guilty of copyright infringement, handing major broadcast TV networks a victory. Kanojia lambasted the court’s decision, calling it “a massive setback for the American consumer.”

Today, Kanojia wrote, “The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.”

Aereo has vowed to continue the fight, directing concerned consumers to its ProtectMyAntenna.org site. But most industry observers don’t expect Aereo to rise from the ashes given its new, court-sanctioned onus to pay licensing fees.

All Aereo subscribers will receive a refund for their last paid month, said Kanojia.

Here is the full statement from Aereo’s chief executive:

A Letter to Our Consumers: Standing Together for Innovation, Progress and Technology – An Update on Aereo

‘“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” – Charles Kettering, inventor, entrepreneur, innovator & philanthropist

A little over three years ago, our team embarked on a journey to improve the consumer television experience, using technology to create a smart, cloud-based television antenna consumers could use to access live over the air broadcast television.

On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower Court decision in favor of Aereo, dealing a massive setback to consumers.

As a result of that decision, our case has been returned to the lower Court. We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps. You will be able to access your cloud-based antenna and DVR only until 11:30 a.m. ET today. All of our users will be refunded their last paid month. If you have questions about your account, please email support@aereo.com or tweet us @AereoSupport.

The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.

On behalf of the entire team at Aereo, thank you for the outpouring of support. It has been staggering and we are so grateful for your emails, Tweets and Facebook posts. Keep your voices loud and sign up for updates at ProtectMyAntenna.org – our journey is far from done.

Yours truly,

Chet Kanojia

More about the companies and people from this article:

Aereo is a New York City-based technology company that allows consumers to access live broadcast television on Internet-connected devices through use of its remote integrated antenna/DVR technology. Aereo allows users to watch live bro... read more »

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15 comments
Amit Bhutani
Amit Bhutani

Really wanted to 'unlike' this but 'liking' it only so it gets awareness. Supreme Court and the big cable company monopolies suck!!

Gary Sulski
Gary Sulski

Don't worry friends, the minds that created this service will just go on and create something else...better. One door closes and another opens, that's the beauty of creativity, one of the last remaining US strengths.

Andrew Ryan
Andrew Ryan

Kip Steele, aereo is hardware. It doesn't always work like that, buddy.

Howard Grimberg
Howard Grimberg

Why don't they just pay transmission fees like everyone else?

Kip Steele
Kip Steele

Put the code on GitHub and open source it.

Neil Webber
Neil Webber

Tech guys can't seem to grok that the law is not a computer program, and clever literal interpretations are not bugs that can be exploited. You can argue all you want about "it's my individual antenna, Aereo is just getting paid for maintaining the DVR/storage/blah-blah-blah" but none of that changes the fundamental truth that they make their money retransmitting content. If there were NO content, what happens to Aereo? Duh. Case closed. No one should be surprised by this verdict.

Graham Long
Graham Long

Just push the servers over seas and buy the antennas under an alias.

Brett Lanier
Brett Lanier

Supreme Court. The best justices money can buy. Nice work Time Warner.

Alexander Labrie
Alexander Labrie

The TV networks might see it as a victory now, but what they don't know yet is they've signed their own slow death warrant. Textbook case of resisting change instead of embracing it.