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Aereo CEO: SCOTUS Decision a ‘Massive Setback to the American Consumer’

Today the Supreme Court ruled against the streaming service Aereo in a decision that affirmed arguments made by broadcast networks that their copyright is being violated. Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia blasted the decision today and called it a “massive setback to the American consumer.”

Aereo argued it was basically providing mini-antennas to consumers that made consuming content easier, while the broadcast companies said Aereo is airing network content without paying retransmission fees like cable distributors do. The Supreme Court sided with the latter argument and ruled that their copyright is being violated.

Kanojia warned the ruling “sends a chilling message to the technology industry” about innovation in this particular arena.

“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. And when new technology enables consumers to use a smarter, easier to use antenna, consumers and the marketplace win. Free-to-air broadcast television should not be available only to those who can afford to pay for the cable or satellite bundle.”

The Supreme Court’s decision came down 6-3, with Justice Antonin Scalia dissenting. Scalia wrote that what Aereo provides is not a “public performance” but instead “is akin to a copy shop that provides patrons with a library card.”

[image via Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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