Tiny antenna, big debate: Tech firm takes fight to the Supreme Court

April 17, 2014
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Broadcasters say Aereo’s service amounts to theft.

“They don’t talk to me. They only talk through lawyers,” Kanojia told Couric, when asked how the network honchos who are suing him feel about the whole idea.

News Corp. COO Chase Carey has said, “We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content. We can’t sit idly by and let an entity steal our signal.”

Kanojia maintains that media companies are fairly compensated through advertising, and scoffs at the notion that using an antenna to access over-the-air TV is in any way illegal.

“Many federal courts have found that Aereo is, in fact, not infringing on their copyrights or anything along those lines. I just don’t find that rhetoric has any credibility,” asserts Kanojia.

The Justice Department disagrees and has thrown its support behind the broadcasters, claiming that Aereo is “clearly infringing” on the copyrights of broadcasters.

Kanojia vehemently disagrees, calling the Justice Department’s position “incorrect and misguided.” He maintains that Aereo is selling technology, not content. A key distinction for the company’s case.

Aereo bills its $8-a-month subscription service as a great alternative to more expensive cable bundles, despite the fact that it only provides broadcast channels such as PBS, NBC, CBS and Fox.

Kanojia claims his customers can easily watch additional programming with digital companion services that cost considerably less than cable.

“It’s all becoming available online,” Kanojia says. “If you go to Netflix, they have great shows, ‘Breaking Bad,’ and, you know, obviously ‘House of Cards.’ You can rent movies from iTunes.”

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