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In a 6-3 decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of broadcasters and against Aereo. While broadcasters are already hailing the ruling, Aereo financial backer Barry Diller has called the decision a blow to consumers.
“It’s not a big [financial] loss for us, but I do believe blocking this technology is a big loss for consumers, and beyond that I only salute [Aereo founder and CEO] Chet Kanojia and his band of Aereo’lers for fighting the good fight,” Diller told CNBC, adding: “We did try, but it’s over now.”
“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is a massive setback for the American consumer,” said Kanojia. “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.”
Meanwhile, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that “justice was served” with the high court’s decision.
“We expected to win, but it certainly feels good to win as decisively as we did,” Moonves told Bloomberg TV, adding: “Now, all it means is that we continue to get paid for our content. We will continue to do that. As we look forward, we’ve already said, we’re going to get — we’ll receive $2 billion by 2020 in retransmission fees. And all that’s important here is that broadcasters and cable content companies and everyone who’s involved with the content producing business gets paid appropriately for their content. And that somebody can’t come and take that content, charge for it, and not pay us back for that content.”
Paul Clement, attorney for the broadcasters, released this statement following the victory: “Today’s decision is a victory for consumers. The Court has sent a clear message that it will uphold the letter and spirit of the law just as Congress intended.”
SAG-AFTRA, 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, CBS, Cablevision and Gannett quickly released statements praising the decision.
“SAG-AFTRA applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Aereo case, which sends a clear and strong message that the Court will not permit companies like Aereo to use inconsequential technical workarounds to evade Congress’ intent to protect content creators and owners in the Copyright Act,” the SAG-AFTRA statement read. “By adopting a practical analysis that recognizes the extraordinary similarity between Aereo and the cable systems Congress expressly regulated in the Act, the Court rightly focuses on the use of copyrighted works and refused to be sidetracked by the inconsequential technical details with which Aereo attempted to cloak itself. But in doing so, the Court properly limited the scope of the decision so that cloud services and other technological innovations are neither inhibited nor limited. This decision gives the creative community greater confidence that copyright law cannot be so simply evaded and restores the proper balance to the system.”
“21st Century Fox welcomes the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, a decision that ultimately is a win for consumers that affirms important copyright protections and ensures that real innovation in over-the-top video will continue to support what is already a vibrant and growing television landscape,” the 21st Century Fox statement read.
“We’re gratified the Court upheld important Copyright principles that help ensure that the high-quality creative content consumers expect and demand is protected and incentivized,” Disney said in a statement.
“We are pleased with today’s decision which is great news for content creators and their audiences,” CBS’ statement read.
“We are gratified that the Court’s decision adopted a sensible middle ground, holding that unlicensed retransmission services like Aereo violate the copyright law, while protecting consumer-friendly, cloud-based technologies, such as RS-DVR. The real winner today is the consumer who will continue to benefit from future innovation,” the Cablevision statement read.
“Like others in the content creating community, Gannett believes that when it provides content, appropriate payment for that content should be made. We are gratified that the Court refused to sanction Aereo’s attempt to circumvent the law,” Gannett’s statement read.
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