Supreme Court's Decision Against Aereo Is a Victory for Big Broadcasters

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 25 2014 11:30 AM

Supreme Court's Decision Against Aereo Is a Victory for Big Broadcasters

103781171-woman-looks-at-high-definition-3d-television-screens-at
Aereo tried to skirt copyright laws by assigning every customer their own small antenna.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that startup television streaming service Aereo breaks copyright laws by using antennas, one per customer, to receive and record broadcasts in exchange for a membership fee. The court voted 6–3 that Aereo's approach was illegal.

The decision is an important victory for television networks, whose business model would have been threatened if Aereo and similar services were allowed to grow. When the court heard the case in April, networks explained that a significant portion of their revenue comes from retransmission fees, and services like Aereo would significantly undermine this payment structure. The New York Times reports that broadcasters threatened to stop transmitting signals altogether if they could not charge other networks and local stations for their content.

Aereo's defense was that for $8 to $12 per month, the company was simply facilitating reception of content through a method that customers could legally use on their own.

Advertisement

According to the Times, CBS spokesperson Dana McClintock said, “We are pleased with today’s decision, which is great news for content creators and their audiences.”

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 5:19 PM Social Outcasts Republican candidates are retreating from debates on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 4:59 PM China’s Not the Problem With Carbon Emissions. We Are.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.