Aereo, that pesky service, has just gotten some pretty bad news. For some time now, it was believed that the service–which provides users the ability to DVR and stream television–might be able to continue it’s operation without worrying about the copyright issues associated with re-broadcasting. They were wrong. The Supreme Court has come down on them.
Aereo’s argument was that, since it only rebroadcasts shows that its users choose and save on customer-assigned DVR machines, its users were retransmitting/performing. Aereo argued that it’s not a rebroadcaster, but its users are (which is legal). Instead, Aereo thinks of itself as a hardware provider. That hardware (DVR machines and antennas) provide a service. Associate Justice Breyer disagrees: “We conclude that Aereo is not just an equipment supplier and that Aereo ‘perform[s].’
In a precedent-setting decision, the Court ruled today that Aereo is in violation of US copyright law. The decision states that Aereo’s use of tiny antennas hooked up to cloud DVR technology violates the right of companies producing broadcast content. Specifically, the decision says that Aereo’s business violates the 1976 Copyright Act.