Aereo is currently deadlocked in a Supreme Court battle over accusations of copyright infringement. Several broadcasting networks, include ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS, have accused the New York-based company of unlawfully transmitting their copyrighted TV content without paying for licenses.
Aereo streams local broadcast station to customers’ computers and mobile devices for $8 dollars each month. They also allow customers record and store television programs.
The company defends themselves, claiming that their service is the legal equivalent to selling an antenna and DVR, which are legal under the Supreme Court decision of the Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. case of 1983. Aereo claims the only difference is its service operates in the cloud and charges a monthly rental fee.
The question the Supreme Court faces is whether Aereo’s technology constitutes a “public performance” under copyright law. The Second Circuit Court and a New York District Court both ruled in favor of Aereo, however a judge in Utah gave the nod to the broadcast stations.
Both sides are represented by experienced attorneys. Paul Clement, a former Solicitor General who’s participated more than 70 Supreme Court cases is representing the broadcasters. Aereo is being represented by David Frederick, who’s argued more than 40 Supreme Court cases.
Frederick told judges that Aereo was equivalent to a cable company. He also argued that a negative decision would also negatively affect the cloud-computing industry.
Currently both sides are deadlocked, and a decision could be months away.