Following Its Supreme Court Defeat, Online TV Service Aereo Halts Operations

What does this week's SCOTUS decision mean for the future of the TV industry?


As Jesse Walker noted at Hit & Run, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Wednesday that Aereo, a online TV service that lets customers watch broadcast stations through the internet, violates U.S. copyright law. Aereo's founder and CEO Chet Kanojia announced today that the company will "pause" its operations "temporarily" as it figures out its next steps.

Earlier this month, Reason's Meredith Bragg looked at Aereo's business and the implications of the SCOTUS decision for the future of the TV industry.

Here's the original write up for that story, which was released on June 1, 2014:

The Supreme Court will soon reach its decision on the much-publicized American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, a case many believe will have a profound effect on the way we watch television.

Aereo rents small antennas and cloud storage to subscribers, allowing them to record and playback over-the-air broadcasts through digitally enabled devices. Broadcasters feel Aereo is retransmitting copyrighted work to paying customers and, based on current copyright law, should be subject to the same retransmission fees cable and satellite companies currently pay. Aereo argues that it is simply a technology company that empowers individuals and therefore isn't engaged in the "public performance" of copyrighted works subject to these fees.

April's oral arguments gave little indication of which way the Supreme Court will rule. The decision is expected any day now.

But no matter the outcome, this case underlines just how antiquated and unresponsive our regulatory and copyright framework has become in an increasingly digital age.

"[This is] just an indication of how complex copyright law has become," says University of Maryland Professor of Law James Grimmelmann. "[Novelist] Douglas Coupland wonderfully called the computer the 'every animal' machine because it is capable of acting like anything. That is how the Internet works. It can act like a cable system. It can act like a storage device. It's TV. It's radio. It's telephone. It's telegraph.  It's everything. That means that a regulatory system that treats these different media differently is going to throw up its hands in confusion when it hits the Internet."

"Whatever happens to Aereo the industry from now on is going to be forced to move forward and innovate," says Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia. "[We] didn't cause this change. The change has been brewing since the Internet started moving bits around."

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Camera by Bragg and Jim Epstein.

About 6 minutes.

NEXT: Elizabeth Nolan Brown Asks: Why Aren't There More Unisex Bathrooms?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Bummer. I don’t know a thing about Aereo, but always hate when we lose an innovative service. Who’s next to be killed by the court?!?! Always such a thrill guessing who’s next to get the ziggy!

  2. I was just thinking, progressives are always claiming that budget deficits don’t matter, right? But then they want to raise taxes.

    If deficits don’t matter, then why do progressives want to raise taxes on rich people? If deficits are so irrelevant then shouldn’t we just have no taxes?


    2. Why doesn’t Buffet just pay his secretary more money to cover her taxes?

      These are the mysteries which will never be solved.

    3. “I was just thinking, progressives are always claiming that budget deficits don’t matter, right? But then they want to raise taxes.”

      And high taxes won’t drive companies out of states and yet tax relief is offered to companies to relocate into a state.
      Almost as if they were lying bastards, isn’t it?

    4. See now, when was the last time a state goon showed up at your door and beat you unmercifully for disrespecting the state?

      Because with comments like that, my guess would be that you’re due.

    5. I was just thinking, progressives are always claiming that budget deficits don’t matter, right?

      That was Dick “Deficits don’t matter” Cheney.

      Obama campaigned on cutting the deficit in half (which he has done).

      Under White House projections, this year’s inherited budget deficit of $1.3 trillion will be cut to $533 billion by fiscal year 2013, the end of the first term.

      “So we’ll cut it at least in half,” the official said.

      Read more:…..z35yEffO58

      But he failed to do it by the end of his first term – so he LIED!

      1. Tu quoque continues not to be a valid argument form.

        Valid forms:

        disjunctive syllogism
        modus ponens
        modus tollens
        reductio ad absurdum

        Hope this helps.

        1. You forgot to tell him it’s bullshit.

          Because it’s bullshit.

        2. You also forgot to tell him he’s a slimy turd.

        3. Don’t forget cunt!

          He’s a cunt, too!

      2. The budget deficit for 2012 was 1.1 trillion dollars.

        Not only did he fail to do it by the end of his first term, but he had a budget deficit over $1 trillion every year.

        1. $492 billion this year:


          Yes, he failed to halve it by the end of his first term. That is a fact. But like Bill Clinton did he will leave our fiscal condition much better off than what he inherited.

          Give me something more challenging Irish. You are getting stale.

          1. That’s a projection you stale twat and it’s a projection based on the continuation of the massive bubble that supports the house of straw that is much of the US economy.

            1. Also, the drop is driven by remittance from the FED as treasuries mature.

          2. But like Bill Clinton did he will leave our fiscal condition much better off than what he inherited.

            I’m not a huge fan of Clinton, nor does the executive get exclusive (or even much) credit for budget policy, but the fucking national debt didn’t double during the first term of his presidency. When it becomes untenable for the Fed to maintain interest rates at 0% in perpetuity, Obama’s legacy on “our fiscal condition” is going to be debt service costs that are in the range of the current defense budget. Fuckin’ well done, buddy.

      3. No comment about the economy shrinking 3% in the first quarter?

        Don’t tell me it was because of the snow, cuz it was snowing in the last quarter of last year too. and it snowed last year, and the year before……

        Cut the deficit in half? Right.

        1. Hey, you never answered my question about the cow-y taste.

          1. Let me go back and look.

          2. Why, yes. That is a pretty good description. It is variation of that, and not unpleasant at all. I was raised on raw milk so I love it. It is very distinctly ‘cow’ in it’s flavor.

            I always recommend to anyone who has never had it to seek it out and try it. Same for goat’s milk.

            1. Cool. I guess I’ll have to try another farm for raw milk then.

              My Saudi friends have shared camel milk with me. It’s sweeter than any other milks I’ve tried.

              1. Milk also has a different composition depending on where in the lactation cycle the cow (or any mammal really) is.

        2. Are you predicting a recession? How much can you bet on that?

          1. You are shitting me right? You think I would take you seriously enough to enter into a bet with you?

            I wouldn’t let you pick up dog shit in my yard.

          2. It doesn’t take much prediction power to predict something that’s probably already happening.

          3. How much you wanna bet?

            Between the end of WWII and the start of the last recession in Dec 2007 the average interval from the start of one recession to the start of the next recession has been 66 months. It has now been 67 months since the Dec 2007.

            The three recoveries that lasted longer than that average all featured extremely strong growth with multiple quarters over 4%. The eight that were shorter than that average featured slower growth.

            The current ‘recovery’ is the slowest of any. In fact, it is the first since the 1930s that has featured economic growth below the long term trend of 3.1% (with the cumulative of that percent often referred to as potential gdp).

            So, based on those observations, we are overdue for another recession now.

            1. Correction – it’s been 79 months since the start of the last recession.

    6. If deficits don’t matter, then why do progressives want to raise taxes on rich people? If deficits are so irrelevant then shouldn’t we just have no taxes?

      Because taxes exist, for progressives, to equalize income. IE make the rich less rich, because failure to do so will mean that the rich will have all the money and the poor won’t have any, or something.

    7. I thought that was a line from Dick Cheney.

      1. always late to the party

  3. I am going to repost my extension-spam here since it didn’t get any attention in that derpfest of a thread under ENB’s post:

    I have finally uploaded a new
    of my Firefox extension fascr (an extension similar to
    the Reasonable extension for Chrome).

    The most notable new feature, which I find quite nifty, is that
    when there are unread posts, you can key forward through them with
    “shift-alt-j” and backward with “shift-alt-k”.

    Note that some internal changes made for the sake of a
    future feature means that it will forget all read/unread
    distinctions from previous versions.

    I have not spent much time testing it, so this release
    is designated “alpha”.
    Please bear with me.

    1. Who are you?

      1. bdhr has been posting about a Firefox plugin similar but independent from Reasonable for a few months. This is the first intro to it and a discussion of basic features.

        bdhr, you’re otherwise a lurker, no? Either way, thanks for making a plugin for Firefox. I had to switch to reading reason in Chrome because the Reasonable features are so convenient. fascr has been tempting me back.

        1. bdhr, you’re otherwise a lurker, no?


      2. Someone who is writing a Firefox extension that will allow people to block out Eddie, Bo, and your mom. You should thank him/her.

        1. Why block out your mom?

          I love that bitch!

        2. Wait, I thought the Reasonable program could already block me.

          1. Reasonable is only for Chrome (and theoretically Opera which allows you to use Chrome extensions). Firefox users haven’t been able to filter you until bdhr got involved. Safari and Internet Explorer users still can’t.

            1. Wow, I’m sorry to hear that, y’all have my sympathies!

            2. IE users deserve nothing. Nothing but scorn and pain.

              1. Isn’t that your answer to everything? Though you’re absolutely correct in this case.

                1. Not every…wait…hold on a minute..

      3. I’ve been in contact with him. He’s trustworthy, don’t worry.

    2. Look, NSA, we don’t want your crappy spyware!

      1. Heh. I know you’re just joking, but several people are using (a) past version(s) fine. And there is only a tiny amount of code so it should be easy for another programmer to glance over and verify that it doesn’t “phone home”.

    3. Don’t do it!!

      Now everyone will block my posts not just Chrome users!!

      1. All two Opera users will still be able to see you.

        (Actually Opera’s a fine browser, and its extension SDK is almost identical to Chrome’s so Reasonable should work with little or no modification)

        1. All two Opera users

          Ted S. and ???

          Epi admitted to posting from Internet Explorer last night*. I think we should publicly shame him (more so than he publicly shames himself of course).

          Anybody posting from Safari?

          *He was doing it to escape the problems Chrome users were having, but still…

          1. I used Opera forever, but I switched to IceDragon for the security goodies.

            1. Oh nice. I use their Dragon variant of Chrome. I didn’t realize they had a Firefox variant as well.

            2. What’s an IceDragon?

              1. Comodo Security rolled their own Chrome browser called “Comodo Dragon”, apparently they did a Firefox variant called “IceDragon”

                They both remove “call home” features, and give you the option to use Comodo’s “secure DNS” instead of the system default. I believe they added in a master password function for settings or at least the saved password wallet in Dragon, which was missing from the standard Chrome build.

          2. Fucking iPhones pretty much only give you that option (safari). It would be nice if you could just comment through the reason app.

            1. Ah that’s right, they blocked Firefox from doing an iOS release.

              1. God forbid someone make a browser that plays flash videos

    4. I like it. How do I see who is on my blacklist. And does it have “recent postings” like Reasonable does.

      1. No recent postings, sorry.

        Click the hamburger menu (the three horizontal lines in the upper-right), then “Add-ons”, then click options next to fascr.

      2. And does anyone know how to make the lines break differently on my Samsung phone. Reason comes in teeny tiny, but then if I zoom in it goes offscreen. The other pubs I read don’t usually do this.

        1. Sorry bdhr, didn’t see your reply before posting again. I didn’t mean to ignore it. thanks for the reply and thanks for the plugin.

    5. How in the hell do you install it? I see nothing in Add on Manager that lets you browse for files.

      … Hobbit

      1. There should be a little gear button in the top right corner, click that and choose “Install add-on from file”.

        1. That will work, or one of the following if easier / easier to remember:

          * When the dialog pops up asking if you want to save or open, open with Firefox

          * CTRL-O (the letter, not the number), then choose the file

          * In Windows Explorer, Nautilus / Dolphin / PCManFM, etc., right click the file and open with Firefox

          * Drag from the file manager into the Add-ons panel

          1. Thanks for the info. Looks like it’s working.

            … Hobbit

  4. Pelosi, on the border, says she wished she could simply “take home” the thousands of children

    Someone will have to tell me what else she said. I couldn’t make it more than a few seconds into the video. With all due respect, what a blithering idiot she is!

    1. Isn’t Pelosi a millionaire?

      Why, exactly, can she NOT adopt the children and take them home?

      1. So much this.

        “Put up or shut up!”

      2. Because her role is to educate and guide the masses, and the masses pay her back with taxes to do the job. And the taxes, they be mandatory, because she already knows she is doing a good job. It is the masses who have yet to learn this.

      3. because they have poor people germs

    2. [to Pelosi]


    3. Nancy Pelosi is the richest person to ever be Speaker of the House. Surely she and her husband could take the children and put them to work at her non-union $25 million winery for minimum wage. Maybe she could put them up in the Auberge du Soleil Resort (which her husband is part owner of and is not unionized).

      Oops, was I not supposed to notice that?

      1. She made a shitload on the Mastercard IPO. Some on the right claimed she is guilty of insider trading.

        1. Perish the thought!

        2. You know, right, that insider trading is LEGAL for sitting senators?

          So, yeah, she actually IS guilty. And there’s not one goddamn thing anybody can do about it.

    4. “With all due respect”

      None due.
      There are times at the ball park where you wonder if she’s in town or the tide is out.

      1. The tide comes in, the tide goes you – you can’t explain that

    5. The fucking useless cunt speaks

      1. Well, shreek’s also a slimy turd, don’t forget.

  5. “[We] didn’t cause this change. The change has been brewing since the Internet started moving bits around.”

    We didn’t start the fire…

    1. You are evil.

  6. Posted in a dead thread last night, but Vice has a series called “Kids telling dirty jokes”

    Episode 1: Jon

    Epi wishes he could tell the first joke.

    1. Epi wishes a lot of things.

      But instead, he shits in his hands.

      Or. . .wait. . .how did that go again?

      No, I got it right.

    2. That was great.

      1. Episode two has a couple of circumcision jokes.

  7. Never off-topic around here: Humanity Surprised It Still Hasn’t Figured Out Better Alternative To Letting Power-Hungry Assholes Decide Everything

    Noting that it has had thousands of years to develop a more agreeable option, humankind expressed bewilderment this week that it has yet to devise a better alternative to governing itself than always letting power-hungry assholes run everything, sources worldwide reported.

    1. It would be a better world if we just shot every power hungry asshole as they began showing the symptoms.

      Or, hell, we could just declare it a mental illness! The entirety of congress placed inside individual padded rooms until they can be certified as passive non-assholes.

      1. “Or, hell, we could just declare it a mental illness! The entirety of congress placed inside individual padded rooms until they can be certified as passive non-assholes.”

        SF is working on this, but (natch) they got it backwards; they’re gonna let the gov’t commit the citizens.

  8. What did I miss? This thread is a snoozer….and unisex bathrooms? C’mon.

    Once I was in a Starbucks which only had one bathroom. I went to use it and just as I approached the door a super hot girl came out. She whisked past me and out the door she went. As I got close to the bathroom door I was assaulted by the most horrible shit smell imaginable. I don’t know what that girl ate, but goddamn it nearly knocked me on the floor. That is when I realized why she left so fast…she was embarrassed. I have to say, that smell made her much less hot. I know it is petty of me, but it just did.

    I don’t want unisex bathrooms.

    I spent all day on the tractor and got one hell of a lot of work done. Unfortunately I also got into some fuckin’ yellow jackets. They lit my ass up about ten this morning and I am still hurting. Jesus, those were some pissed off little bastards.

    ” Broadcasters feel Aereo is retransmitting copyrighted work to paying customers and, based on current copyright law, should be subject to the same retransmission fees cable and satellite companies currently pay.”

    Sounds like they are.

    1. Back in high school I helped this hot neighbor cowgirl rope a cow and get it back to her farm, and she invited me inside. I was so horny I was loopy, and the first thing she did was take a shit. Gave me a tour of the bedrooms, but the smell was doing more than lingering. It was oppressive. Total weenie shrinker. Nothing else happened.

      1. That made me laugh. Sorry man, that sucks.

    2. You sound just like the rednecks I play golf with sometimes. I actually like bullshitting with them, betting and drinking beer with them too.

      They are “good ol’ boys”.

      By “rednecks” I don’t mean the knife-fighting types. More like the pre-Taliban look Duck Dynasty yuppie Southerners. College degrees and $50,000 trucks.

    3. Sorry about the yellow jackets. Those little fuckers will ruin your day.

      I got all tractor work done within an hour of waking, cause I got A FUCKING WEEK OFF OF WORK!

      Of course, I was summoned for THREE WEEKS of jury duty. Three fucking weeks? Tha FUCK?

      But they don’t need me next week. One down, two to go…

      Get through a couple days of thunderstorms, and then ride the wheels off the moorsickles and shoot guns till you can’t touch the barrel.


      1. Of course, I was summoned for THREE WEEKS of jury duty. Three fucking weeks? Tha FUCK?

        You didn’t print out your Reason posts and show them? I’m sure that’d disqualify you from just about everything.

        1. Heh. Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing. They would instantly have a deputy escort him out of the courthouse.

        2. This is actually true. I sat in on a jury selection and the plaintiff’s lawyer actually asked the potential jurors if anyone read “High Times” or “Reason Magazine.”

          Well done, Welch. Well done.

          1. This is fucking hilarious.

          2. Did you lie?

            1. I didn’t have to, but I did talk to the clerk after and said that I would probably never sit on a jury in any case involving drugs.

        3. I have been summoned, but called in and was told I was not needed this week – “Call again on July 4th”.

          If/when I get called, I’m takin’ my NRA card, Reason magazine print edition, wearing my Reason t-shirt, and my hat from my favorite gun shop.

          Figger that oughta do it…

      2. I got two weeks and ended up on a jury too.

    4. “Yellow jackets”


      1. I did, but they sure made me pay. I got half a dozen stings, luckily none were on my face. My right hand looks like it belongs to Mickey Mouse.

  9. OT:
    For those of you who get the dead-tree version of the mag, I’m surprised Hemingway’s expose’ of O-care’s propaganda hasn’t gotten more attention.
    Sebelius strongarms ‘non-financial’ assistance to polish that pig out of entities she regulates and no one peeps?
    Hy thyself to the news stand and buy the Aug/Sept issue.

  10. Last week Irish posted a few funny Tweets from a Salon parody account. Well unfortunately for those guys, despite their valiant efforts, Salon remains immune to parody:

    Robot warriors of the Tea Party attack: Don’t watch the new #Transformers movie — read this @andohehir essay instead

    ? (@Salon) June 28, 2014


    1. That is some shit writing right there.

  11. A black man in New Jersey has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, Benjamin Moore Paints, which he says named one of its paint colors after him and then fired him when he complained.

    Clinton Tucker, who managed online sales for Benjamin Moore, which is owned by the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, said that he was bothered by the names of several of the company’s paint colors, “Clinton Brown,” “Tucker Chocolate,” and “Confederate Red.”

    “Being a black man named Clinton Tucker, the plaintiff found this to be extremely racially offensive,” reads the complaint, filed in Essex County Court.

    Tucker claims that the company’s executive management were aware of his displeasure with the color names, but failed to take his complaints seriously and then terminated ? allegedly unlawfully ? him in March 2014.…..06106.html

    1. Shame they didn’t see you; “Slimy Turd Olive” would have been appropriate.

    2. I don’t care what his race is, the guy in that article sounds extremely unlikable. No wonder you sympathize with him.

    3. Oh man, I can’t stop giggling about this.

      If I found a bunch of paints named after me, I’d go buy a few gallons and pain my home.

      Then, when my friends asked what colors I used, hilarious jokes could ensue.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.