This story has been updated.
In a crushing defeat for Aereo, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Internet-delivered TV service has violated copyright laws
by capturing broadcast signals on digital antennas and selling them to subscribers for a fee.
The decision is a major victory for the TV broadcast networks and TV station owners.
In a 6-3 vote, the court said Aereo is violating the broadcasters' copyrights by taking the signals for free. The decision preserves the current TV industry structure, in which TV networks get
carriage money -- called retransmission fees -- from a range of pay TV providers, including cable, satellite, and telco operators.
Aereo’s claimed its service was no different than TV
homes using an “antenna” to get free broadcast signals. It says its customers each have individual “digital” antennas for its service, where customers pay around $8 a month.
Aereo’s service is available in New York, Boston and Atlanta, among 11 metropolitan areas.
TV network executives were not all that worried about Aereo. Still, CBS and other
nets said should the Supreme Court decision go in Aereo’s favor, they would likely turn into cable TV networks to continue to receive network carriage fees."Satellite Dish Antennas" photo from Shutterstock.
As far as CBS (and others) threatening to become cable networks, if it were in their best financial interests to do so, they would have done so already.
Do they want to walk away from the % of US households without cable or satellite?
What about the obligations to the affiliate stations that stake there existence on programming from national networks? Do networks tell there affiliates "too bad, tough luck". after a 60+ year relationship?
What is a local station worth without being a network affiliate?