AAPL Stock: 117.34 ( -0.96 )

Printed from

Aereo files for emergency aid, company is 'bleeding to death'

updated 03:00 pm EDT, Fri August 1, 2014

'Catch 22' generated by court, US copyright office

Aereo is "figuratively bleeding to death," according to a court filing made last night by the Supreme Court-impacted Internet video service. The filing cites "staggering costs" that it is still paying to stay alive as a business entity while the court and the US Copyright Office debate if it should be treated like a cable company, as the Supreme Court alluded in its ruling against Aereo.

"Unless it is able to resume operations in the immediate future, the company will likely not survive," said the court filing made yesterday to the Manhattan US District Court less than five hours after the federal appeals court refused to grant Aereo an injunction permitting it to operate as a cable company.

Aereo provided thousands of micro antennas for recording individual programs unique to their subscribers, rather than using a single antenna and repeating content to every subscriber. However, the company did record a program once, and replayed that recording to multiple users. In the court's opinion, Aereo operated as if it was a cable company, and should be subject to the same requirement to obtain licenses for retransmission of content.

Supreme Court Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, Kennedy, Roberts, and Sotomayor voted in favor of the decision, with Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas dissenting. Aereo could opt to negotiate licenses for rebroadcast, but this would dramatically increase pricing to customers.

The US Copyright Office disagrees with the Supreme Court. It says that Aereo meets none of the wickets for rebroadcast licenses held by cable companies, as Aereo's Internet retransmissions of broadcast material "fall outside the scope of the Section 111 license." While this is bad news for Aereo, there is still some hope -- as the US Copyright Office will accept the filings "provisionally" as the case is still being debated by the courts.

The future of Aereo, and potentially the entire Internet video industry, has been jeopardized by the court's ruling and Copyright Office's denial of the ruling. The Supreme Court claims that despite the ruling, "given the limited nature of this holding, the Court does not believe its decision will discourage the emergence or use of different kinds of technologies."

by MacNN Staff



  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    Thieves get what they deserve, hopefully. Do it the right way next time. Follow the laws.

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    You're not bothered by the Supreme Court saying that they should be treated like a cable company, and the US Copyright Office saying that they shouldn't be?

  1. Shaddim

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 04-11-03

    "Thieves"? That's absurd. If they're thieves, then so is anyone with a TV aerial.

  1. msquared70

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-06-10

    they gambled on a very "questionable" business model and lost period.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Shaddim, there is a marked and distinct difference in the way Aereo handles the broadcasts it receives and the way that regular consumers handle the broadcasts they receive over-the-air... and that difference is at the heart of the matter. Failing to acknowledge this difference or simply dismissing it as being the same as a home receiving over-the-air broadcasts is to demonstrate a lack of understanding about what's going on here.

    One, single difference is that Aereo is, in essense, reselling the otherwise free broadcasts and trying to profit from them. If that doesn't make them completely different from a home receiving broadcasts via antenna, and it's but one mere example of a difference, then I don't know what does.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Me, I'm just so happy to see a company correctly use the term "figuratively" rather than "literally" I could almost cry.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-06-01

    are you literally crying or figuratively crying?

  1. xomniron

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-17-13

    I don't want to install a literal antenna on my roof -- it would be very difficult. Therefore, I am willing to pay someone for the convenience of streaming those very same TV signals to me via the Internet that I would receive (as if I had a virtual antenna). For that figurative convenience, I would literally pay a small monthly fee. It seems fair to me. The networks would still get their market exposure (and thus, their income) for the advertising I have to endure and I get the local TV channels I want. Aereo provides a service that is not wrong -- literally or figuratively -- and I don't feel violates any licenses. It is a great concept.

    The ONLY loser is the cable company who wants me to pay over $80/month for the Basic level of service (72 channels, I think), most of which I never watch. I don't want all those channels, but they don't give me that choice. Aereo does. For any media besides the local TV channels, I will watch via ROKU.

    The only missing piece of this solution is Aereo's ability to provide what I could obtain myself. IF Aereo is able to convince all the regulatory entities that they should be treated like a cable company, I would also be good with that and pay a little extra monthly fee to cover the greedy networks' "protection" money -- provided Aereo is willing to provide ONLY the local channels I want. If they turn into another cable company with multiple channel packages, contracts, etc., then I'm gone. I'll be up on the roof installing an antenna.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented