Aereo: SCOTUS Ruling Sends “Chilling Message” To Tech Industry

aereoAs you’ve probably heard, earlier today the Supreme Court plunged a shiv into the gut of Aereo, siding with the broadcast networks in their lawsuit against the streaming video startup. Not surprisingly, the company’s CEO, who previously said he had no Plan B if the decision went against Aereo, is not exactly happy with the court’s divided ruling.

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is a massive setback for the American consumer,” says CEO Chet Kanojia in a statement. “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.”

Kanojia takes particular issue with a statement from Justice Breyer’s opinion for the 6-justice majority.

“[T]o 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,” reads the majority opinion.

To which Kanojia asks, “Are we moving towards a permission-based system for technology innovation?”

Indeed, Breyer’s statement does seem to imply that if a new technology wants to question the parameters of existing copyright law, it should get Congress to change the law first.

“Justice Scalia’s dissent gets its right,” writes Kanojia, quoting Scalia’s assertion that Breyer’s opinion is “built on the shakiest of foundations.”

He also quotes Scalia’s concerns that while the majority opinion says that the ruling does not directly affect cloud-based storage and computing systems, “it cannot deliver on that promise given the imprecision of its results-driven rule.”

“We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done,” concludes Kanojia, who does not provide specifics on what direction the company could choose to follow in the wake of the ruling. “We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world.”

Aereo: Saving the world… by providing a service that millions of people want but which six codgers in D.C. say is illegal because they don’t have a basic understanding of 21st Century technology.