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Posts Tagged ‘Chet Kanojia’

Aereo Files for Bankruptcy

aereo antennaeWith a post on the company’s blog Friday morning, Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia announced the company had filed for bankruptcy protection:

The enthusiasm we encountered was overwhelming. The sense of frustration consumers expressed reinforced our mission. We knew we had touched a nerve, had created something special, and had a built something meaningful for consumers.

But we encountered significant challenges from the incumbent media companies.

While we had significant victories in the federal district courts in New York and Boston and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the reversal of the Second Circuit decision in June by the U.S. Supreme Court has proven difficult to overcome. The U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively changed the laws that had governed Aereo’s technology, creating regulatory and legal uncertainty. And while our team has focused its energies on exploring every path forward available to us, without that clarity, the challenges have proven too difficult to overcome.

Accordingly, today, we filed for Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings. We also appointed Lawton Bloom of Argus to serve as Aereo’s Chief Restructuring Officer during this period.

Some of the challenges from “incumbent media companies” included local television stations, who sued Aereo for copyright infringement.

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Aereo Intends to Continue ‘As a Cable System’

aereo antennaeIn a letter filed yesterday with the U.S. District Court of New York, Aereo said it plans to go forward as a cable company.

“The Supreme Court’s holding that Aereo is a cable system under the Copyright Act is significant because, as a cable system, Aereo is now entitled to the benefits of the copyright statutory license pursuant to the Copyright Act,” the letter said. “Aereo is proceeding to file the necessary statement of account and royalty fees.”

Aereo argued before the Supreme Court that it was not a cable company, and therefore should not be required to pay retransmission fees to the broadcast networks. The Court ruled 6-3 in favor of the broadcast networks.

“This has been a challenging journey for our team, but your support has continued to lift and propel us forward. We remain committed to building great technologies that create real, meaningful alternatives for consumers,” Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said in a statement.

Aereo CEO: ‘We Have Decided to Pause Our Operations Temporarily’

aereoIn a letter to subscribers sent Saturday, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said the streaming TV service is taking a “pause” as they “consult with the court and map out our next steps” in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court loss:

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.

Read the full letter after the jump. Read more

What’s Next For Aereo?

Aereo_iPadThe Associated Press breaks down the questions raised by yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in the Aereo case, including the all-important one: what’s next for the streaming television service now that the High Court has sided with the broadcasters?

Although the Supreme Court expressed its thinking on the law, it’s the lower court that must issue a preliminary injunction stopping the service, as requested by broadcasters. That could take a few weeks. It’s not guaranteed that the lower court will halt Aereo’s operations, but it’s very likely.

Once an injunction is issued, broadcasters must prove copyright infringement during a trial. Because it’s now likely that broadcasters will ultimately prevail, Aereo might simply decide to shut down. Even then, broadcasters might still decide to pursue the case and seek damages, possibly as a message to future entrepreneurs contemplating video services that don’t involve licenses.

Although Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia has previously said there’s “no plan” for the streaming service in the event of a Supreme Court loss, his statement yesterday said the company’s “work is not done.”

“We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world,” he said.

Aereo CEO: Supreme Court Ruling Sends ‘Chilling Message to the Technology Industry’

aereo ceo chet kanojiaAereo CEO Chet Kanojia has released a statement on the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in favor of the broadcasters:

Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is a massive setback for the American consumer. We’ve said all along that we worked diligently to create a technology that complies with the law, but today’s decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter. This sends a chilling message to the technology industry.  It is troubling that the Court states in its decision that, ‘to the extent commercial actors or other interested entities may be concerned with the relationship between the development and use of such technologies and the Copyright Act, they are of course free to seek action from Congress.’ (Majority, page 17) That begs the question: Are we moving towards a permission-based system for technology innovation?

Consumer access to free-to-air broadcast television is an essential part of our country’s fabric. Using an antenna to access free-to-air broadcast television is still meaningful for more than 60 million Americans across the United States. Read more

Supreme Court Sides With Broadcasters in Aereo Case

aereoThe 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.

US Government to Argue Against Aereo at Supreme Court Hearing

aereo antennaeThe U.S. Supreme Court has granted a request from the Deputy Solicitor General’s to appear during tomorrow’s Aereo hearing in support of the broadcasters, Deadline reports:

The high court has decided to let the Solicitor General’s office participate in the one-hour oral arguments session between Aereo and the broadcasters Tuesday in Washington D.C. “Motion of the Deputy Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument GRANTED,” said the SCOTUS yesterday. The granting of the motion comes more than a month and a half after the federal government’s top legal office filed a brief supporting the broadcasters in their showdown with the Barry Diller-backed streaming service.

Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia continued to make his case this weekend in a series of interviews with The New York Times and CNN’s Brian Stelter. “The question is, do they want to be broadcasters? If you want to be a broadcaster, you are required to program in public interest in convenience free to air,” Kanojia told Stelter. “Anybody with an antenna can pick it up. I don’t understand why the location of the antenna changes that equation in any which way, shape or form.” Watch after the jump.

We’ll be breaking down the arguments in the Aereo case at the TVNewser Show next Tuesday. Click here for more information and to register.

Read more

Aereo CEO: ‘The Technology We’ve Built is Tremendously Valuable to a lot of People’

With five days to go until the Supreme Court takes up the Aereo case, CEO Chet Kanojia sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric.

“It would be a tragic outcome for a company that had the courage to step up,” Kanojia said about the potential of a Supreme Court loss. “But it is what it is. I think we’ll figure out something or if not, if there’s no viable business, then we’ll probably go out of business. I do know that the technology we’ve built is tremendously valuable to a lot of people.” Watch:

Kanojia also talked about Aereo’s target audience: “People who are consuming a lot of content online, renting movies and Netflix and things like that — what they miss is access to broadcast TV, which happens to be morning television, which happens to be news, which happens to be big reality show events, watercooler type things. And for that, they’re tied to the bundle. Which is the big fight in the Aereo debate.” Watch after the jump. Read more

Broadcasters Developing Contingency Plans in Case of an Aereo Supreme Court Victory

aereoAlthough Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia has said there is no plan B for the streaming television service in the event of a Supreme Court loss, the Wall Street Journal reports the broadcasters are working on backup plans of their own:

The most radical of the contingency plans is the recent suggestion from CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves that the company could offer its own Internet service if Aereo wins. Mr. Moonves hasn’t provided details, but a person familiar with the situation said CBS has the ability to launch a service that would stream its programming over the Web simultaneously with its television broadcasts.

CBS would charge a few dollars a month and show ads, the person said. Such a service would also likely offer on-demand programming. It could include Showtime, the CBS-owned premium cable channel, which would increase the subscription fee, the person said. CBS would use technology company Syncbak, in which it owns a minority stake, to power streaming of local TV stations’ signals over the Web, the person said.

Aereo will be the topic of a panel discussion at the TVNewser Show two weeks from today. BIA/Kelsey SVP Mark Fratrik, Internet attorney Tim Bukher and U.S. Law Week’s Tom Taylor will join us to debate the streaming service and break down the legal arguments for both sides. For tickets and more information, click here.

Aereo: Consequences of Supreme Court Loss Are ‘Chilling’

aereoAereo has filed its last written argument before the Supreme Court hears the case next month. In a statement, CEO Chet Kanojia said if the broadcasters win, “the consequences to American consumers and the cloud industry are chilling.”

Since the beginning of television, consumers have had a fundamental right to watch over-the-air broadcast television using an individual antenna, and they have had the right to record copies for their personal use since the U.S. Supreme Court Sony Betamax decision in 1984. These are rights that should be protected and preserved as they have been for generations.

We look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court on April 22 and we have every hope and confidence that the Court will continue validate and preserve a consumer’s right to use lawful technology innovations like Aereo.

Read the full brief at The Hollywood Reporter.

We’ll be talking about Aereo — among many other topics — at Mediabistro’s TVNewser Show, April 29 in New York City. Click here for more information and to register.

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