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Aereo is dead: Supreme Court rules 6-3 in favor of broadcasters

Aereo V. Broadcasters SCOTUS Ruling

Aereo as we know it has effectively been put out of business. The United States Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with broadcasters who were suing Aereo for taking over-the-air broadcast signals and delivering them to your smartphone, tablet or laptop over your Internet connection. As SCOTUSblog informs us, the court’s 6-3 ruling “appears sweeping and definitive, determining that Aereo is illegal.” If Aereo wants to keep delivering broadcast networks’ shows to your Internet-connected devices, it will need to pay licensing fees to broadcasters.

The court’s majority ruling, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, essentially argues that Aereo is a business that’s very similar to cable companies and thus should be required to pay licensing fees to broadcasters for the rights to transmit their shows.

“In other cases involving different kinds of service or technology providers, a user’s involvement in the operation of the provider’s equipment and selection of the content transmitted may well bear on whether the provider performs within the meaning of the Act,” the majority writes. “But the many similarities between Aereo and cable companies… convince us that this difference is not critical here.”

The three justices who dissented from the majority’s opinion were Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Sam Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas.

You can read the court’s full opinion for yourself by clicking here (PDF).

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.