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Supreme Court Sides With Broadcasters in Aereo Case

aereo antennaeThe Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the broadcasters in ABC vs. Aereo. In the 6-3 opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the High Court “goes out out of its way to make clear that its ruling does not endanger other technologies,” according to SCOTUSBlog.

The decision is the end of a long road for the lawsuit, which began when Aereo launched in 2012. Acting on behalf of the local stations in New York City, Aereo’s first market, broadcasters filed the initial suit less than two weeks after the streaming television service was announced. Four months later, a federal judge ruled in Aereo’s favor. In early 2013, a federal appeals court upheld the lower court’s ruling. In October 2013, the broadcasters petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The High Court heard oral arguments in the case in April. At the time, justices seemed conflicted over the broader implications the ruling could have over the cloud computing industry. During the arguments, the Supreme Court heard from both sides as well as the Deputy Solicitor General, who argued against Aereo on behalf of the government.

As for what’s next for Aereo: both Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia and investor Barry Diller have said that the streaming service would be shut down in the event of a Supreme Court loss. “The mission of this company was to try to create an open platform, to try to wedge the system open a little bit. And if we don’t succeed in that, despite our best efforts and good law on our side and merits of our case, it would be a tragedy, but it is what it is,” Kanojia told Bloomberg TV in April.

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