The following story of Aereo after the Supreme Court.

Shortly after the Aereo’s Supreme Court case, the company filled for bankruptcy, as explained in this article. Currently, Aereo still keeps its website alive with a single page advertising Tivo’s product as the one that “keeps Aereo’s dream alive.”

There are several articles (for example this one) arguing that the Court ruling injected uncertainty in the copyright regulation and demotivated the startups interested in changing the current TV model.

I believe that is indeed bad when new business cannot predict how courts or regulators will rule their activity. However, I have a hard time considering that was Aereo’s case. As Justice Scalia pointed out, Aereo seemed more to be looking for “loophole” in the regulation, rather than developing a new product. It is great when new technology provides easier and cheaper products to meet consumers expectations. However, it does not seem to be fair when such innovations come as the way of “free riders” of pre-existing products. Like in the Napster case, here Aereo seem to be commercializing a product at the expense of the ones who really incur in the costs of its production. My opinion is that government should support new technologies that can be disruptive without damaging other company’s rights, as Spotify and Netflix, for example, seems to do.

One thought on “The following story of Aereo after the Supreme Court.

  1. I agree with your point that Aereo’s specific situation makes it hard to defend them as novel innovators and not simply free riders. I feel that Aereo’s argument failed for two main reasons that aren’t purely legal reasons, but still project Aereo’s actions in a bad light. First, I find it very difficult to overcome the fact that Aereo was making its money through a subscription basis. The other IP cases we’ve seen allowed users to access and utilize their services freely and I think this fact gave those companies a better standing in the public’s eye even if the companies still lost their court cases. Since Aereo is essentially just taking something someone else made and reselling it, it looks a lot less like the Robin Hood style of innovation from Napster (taking from the rich record labels, and allowing content to be distributed to the masses), and more like “cloud piracy.” The second reason Aereo had a tough argument to win is because its service isn’t selling the antenna (which would make it look more like Sony’s VCR), but rather it was selling a service that would deliver content directly to you. Even though consumers were the ones who made the specific requests to download certain shows, the case that could help Aereo the most (Sony) was easily distinguishable from Aereos actions.