Since it’s the group that is basically in charge of keeping this wacky country in line, the United States Supreme Court has a lot on its plate. It has to stay on top of every law and determine whether or not its really in line with the Constitution to force ducks to wear long pants, or whatever. With that much responsibility, it can’t be expected to keep up with every trend that’s sweeping the nation, whether its video game violence or “traditional marriage,” but the Supreme Court does its best to handle everything. That’s especially true when it needs to make a decision related to one of America’s oldest and most treasured institutions: television.
As reported by Tech Crunch (via Entertainment Weekly), the Supreme Court Of The United States has ruled against Aereo, an online TV streaming service, effectively making its entire business illegal. For those who aren’t familiar with Aereo, it is—or rather, was—a company that would establish arrays of miniature TV antennas in select cities and attach them to servers that would be able to record and play back local TV programming. Users would basically rent an antenna for $12 a month that covered their area, and then they’d be able to watch local TV shows over the Internet.
Since that’s obviously a business plan that benefits TV viewers more than TV networks, the networks weren’t happy about it. They took Aereo to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court sided with the TV networks, arguing that Aereo was infringing on their copyrights by charging people for content that it did not own. Aereo’s argument was that it was only charging people for their server space and antenna use, making it no different than someone buying an antenna for their home. After all, no two people would ever share an antenna, and the shows recorded by one user couldn’t be accessed by another. It was no use, though, and the TV networks decided that Aereo had to die.
Being a Supreme Court decision, it actually goes a bit deeper than that, but the gist of it is that TV networks and cable companies defeated a company that was trying to do something cool and technologically advanced. Imagine that.