The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) is pleased with the Supreme Court 6-3 decision against Aereo. The two year-old startup was found in gross violation of copyright laws, by failing to acquire a license or pay networks for transmitting their content to Aereo subscribers.
In addition to protecting the broadcasting industry from unlawful infringement, the Supreme Court’s ruling enables networks to continue offering content through over-the-air platforms, which small businesses rely on to inform and advertise to urban and low-income communities.
“The USHCC celebrates the Supreme Court’s ruling against Aereo; this decision is a clear victory for both major American broadcasters and small business owners who rely on over-the-air advertising. In the absence of this verdict, major networks would have had to restrict access to their content to safeguard against piracy – a scenario neither the consumer nor the broadcaster desires,” said USHCC President & CEO Javier Palomarez. “From affluent suburban areas, to rural communities and urban centers, this decision ensures the accessibility of programming consumers enjoy, while promoting healthy, lawful competition among network distributors.”
Aereo’s service intercepts, captures, records, and retransmits content for a user fee without reimbursing the original owner. While the company attempted to defend its business model by illustrating the technological differences between its operations and other dues-paying platforms, Justice Stephen Breyer explained, “Behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish Aereo’s system from cable systems. Congress would as much have intended to protect a copyright holder from the unlicensed activities of Aereo as from those of cable companies.”
“There is a difference between innovation and theft. We are glad the Court agreed and saw through the attempt by Aereo to blur the line,” said NAB Chief Operating and Strategy Officer Chris Ornelas. “This decision ensures that stations across the country can continue to provide diverse programming choices for our viewers and the most powerful platform for businesses large and small to advertise local products and services.”
USHCC Chairman Marc Rodriguez added: “It is encouraging to see the Supreme Court uphold the rights of broadcasters who provide such important services to our nation’s diverse communities. It is imperative that these rights be protected, not only for consumer use, but for small business owners who rely on traditional broadcasting platforms. The USHCC stands with NAB and its broadcasting partners in supporting the Supreme Court’s decision, and will continue to support the commercial interests of the industry.”