updated 11:47 am EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
Start-up continues to fight courts, broadcasters over Aereo legality
Aereo is continuing its fight against broadcasters, after temporarily shutting down following a decision by the Supreme Court, by asking affected users to complain to lawmakers. An e-mail sent by Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia sent out today calls for users to vent their frustrations at representatives, with the aim of changing the law to allow the start-up to continue operating.
Kanojia claims there to have been a large amount of support for Aereo in social media postings, and that the messages "have made it clear how important it is for so many Americans to have access to a cloud-based antenna to watch live broadcast television." The founder goes on to ask users to "tell your lawmakers how disappointed you are that the nation's highest court issued a decision that could deny you the right to use the antenna of your choice to access live over-the-air broadcast television."
The mail points recipients to the Protect My Antenna website, created for the crusade. Aside from reiterating arguments that consumers must be able to watch broadcast television using any antenna of their choosing, as well as providing links to briefs and opinions in its legal fight with broadcasters, the site provides contact details for representatives, both for social media and for e-mail, along with pre-written messages users can choose to send.
Aereo's shutdown on Saturday was caused by a Supreme Court ruling against the company. Voting 6-3 against, the court found that Aereo provides "public performances" under the Copyright Act, despite its protestations, with the court declaring the micro-antenna system and recordings of shows for individual users "do not distinguish Aereo's system from cable systems, which do perform publicly."
Some have questioned the technical ability of the justices, with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wondering about Roku license fees for content streams in an April hearing, while Justice Antonin Scalia was unaware that HBO was a cable-only service and does not offer over-the-air broadcasts.