Supreme Court Decision Against Aereo: Who Wins, Who Loses?

Jun 25, 2014  •  Post A Comment

Today's 6-3 Supreme Court decision against Internet start-up Aereo handed a big win to TV broadcast networks and station owners, along with movie studios, pay TV providers and antenna makers, USA Today reports.

In news that broke earlier today, the court ruled that Aereo violates the copyrights of major networks by streaming their programming to subscribers. The ruling effectively shuts down Aereo's service.

Losers in the decision include, obviously, Aereo, along with cord cutters, the makers of devices and people who want to watch local channels without putting up an antenna — or for that matter, without owning a TV, as the content could be viewed on smartphones, tablets and computers.

The Consumer Electronics Association took Aereo's side in the dispute, saying that the company's disruptive innovation improved viewers' access to the broadcasters' free content. Holding a similar view, the Computer & Communications Industry Association expressed concern that the decision might stifle other cloud services, USA Today notes.

The big winners in the ruling were the broadcast networks, which now can expect to continue to be paid for retransmission of their programming. The report notes that TV stock prices rose after the decision was announced.

"Perhaps more importantly, TV powers can now embrace live online streaming of their content at their own speed," the report adds.

Hollywood studios also cheered the ruling, which protects their films and TV shows from unauthorized online streaming, the story says. And pay-TV providers such as cable and satellite operators and fiber-based television delivery systems can now rest assured that their services are the easiest way for viewers to gain access to local channels and national networks.

Makers of traditional antennas are also breathing easier, now that a workaround — Aereo's strategy of leasing dime-sized antennas to subscribers — has been removed.

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