The Supreme Court has spoken and popular streaming site Aereo will likely be kaput very soon.
The site was the subject of a lengthy copyright battle due to the website’s ability to allow its users to watch and record television shows. At a price range of $8 to $12 per month, it was a steal for fans of the site.
In addition to watching shows on television and recording with DVR devices, customers could also access the content through smartphones, tablets, and personal computers.
The highly accessible Aereo was making a great deal of money off of content the website simply did not own.
Needless to say, the affected cable providers and content owners were anything but thrilled.
Despite the conflict, it wasn’t easy to determine just how to approach Aereo’s wrongdoing.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 26, 2014
For instance, broadcasters claimed that the website violated the Copyright Act by providing audiences paid access to content the site itself did not own or have permission to share.
Aereo defended itself by saying it only provided users a means of accessing television. The website claimed its services were no more illegal or harmful than a television antenna.
The problem with this argument is that Aereo is broadcasting paid content; a great deal of money was spent to make the content available through cable providers. The site itself pays nothing while charging customers for its service.
Making a profit in such a manner is just too unscrupulous to avoid running into legal trouble.
— BostInno (@BostInno) June 26, 2014
Shares of media and cable companies have spiked on news of the Supreme Court's ruling against Aereo: http://t.co/6jGE1He3Mk
— Forbes (@Forbes) June 25, 2014
It was the opinion of the Supreme Court that Aereo was, by virtue of its paid service, a cable provider. As such, the company is subject to copyright law.
The court ruled that the laws were meant to protect cable providers from the “unlicensed activities of Aereo” and similar lawbreakers.
Does the court’s ruling necessarily spell the end of Aereo?
Well, not immediately.
The amount of content that Aereo typically shares is going to cost a GREAT deal of money should the website "go straight". Perhaps more money than the website can afford to spend and stay afloat.
It will most likely shrink to a “manageable” level of content, which may drive users elsewhere. If that doesn’t test customer loyalty than the inevitable price hike surely will.
In any case, it doesn’t look good for Aereo.
The case is also expected to have heavy ramifications when it comes to online streaming.
Nicely explains the bad news: "Aereo won't be the only tech company regretting Wednesday's ruling." http://t.co/1n68bShRH1
— Julie Samuels (@juliepsamuels) June 25, 2014
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) June 25, 2014
Since the Supreme Court has made a ruling with regard to copyright laws and violations through streamed content, it will only be a matter of time before certain websites feel the heat.
Paid streaming or not, a bevy of lawsuits probably were filed within minutes of this landmark ruling.
Image via Wikimedia Commons