Could Aereo actually win the war against broadcasters who are trying to shut down its streaming-broadcast-via-private-antenna service? Maybe. In the most recent development in this ongoing battle, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to hear the broadcasters’ request to stop Aereo from rebroadcasting over-the-air signals to subscribers who rent an antenna in several major markets. Most of the judges were completely dismissive of the issue, but in his dissenting opinion, Judge Denny Chin was very much in favor of the broadcasters. Via GigaOm:
… Chin declared Aereo to be a “sham” and warned that it was harming the television industry. The nearly 30-page dissent followed Chin’s earlier objections, which he set out in the 2nd’s earlier ruling, upholding the case. He added:
Indeed, the hardware and technology in Cablevision and the antennas and wiring at issue here are fast becoming obsolete in this era of the “Cloud” and wireless technology. Courts should follow Congress’s lead and resist the urge to look “under the hood” at how these processes technically work.
Frankly, I’m surprised that the broadcasters are appealing at all, and not headed for the very corporate-friendly Supreme Court. I myself am a huge proponent of internet-based television, but don’t see a lot of hope for Aereo down the road, especially given that it’s pretty clear that the service is retransmitting OTA signals, which is clearly a big no-no. The way I read the definitions of such is simply that the second you receive a signal, transcode it, and send it out in another form, that’s retransmitting, and subject to fees.
If I were one the broadcasters involved in this ongoing legal war, I’d simply end-run Aereo and get the local cable companies to offer a $4.95 per month package to deliver the channels over the internet. Not only do broadcasters have existing contracts with the cable companies, but said cable companies are ready and eager for every dollar they can get on their way to being to total kings of television.