Aereo Says It Can Still Operate After Supreme Court Loss

Aereo Inc., the streaming video startup that halted service after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it violated broadcasters’ copyrights, said it believes it can still operate like a cable TV service after the decision.

In a letter today to U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan in Manhattan, Aereo wrote that according to its interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling, it’s entitled to a compulsory license for its programming, and that the transmissions broadcasters threatened to block through lawsuits don’t infringe their rights.

“Although Aereo has temporarily suspended operations, Aereo believes that it can still operate in accordance with the terms of the Supreme Court’s decision and intends to do so,” the company said in the letter.

The Supreme Court ruled Aereo violated broadcasters’ copyrights by selling programming online without paying licensing fees. Broadcasters said Aereo, which is backed by billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, threatened to create a blueprint that would let cable and satellite providers stop paying billions of dollars in retransmission fees each year to carry local programming.

Aereo, based in Long Island City, New York, announced the halt in service on June 28, marking the end for now of the $8-a-month service in 11 cities where its customers watched live and recorded TV from broadcasters such as CBS and ABC.

CBS said in the same letter to the judge that, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Aereo’s legal bid to reinstate its service should be dismissed. The letter was a joint statement of the dispute by Aereo and the broadcasters.

Aereo also had distributed Bloomberg TV to subscribers. Bloomberg LP is the parent company of Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Television.

The cases are Aereo v. CBS Broadcasting Inc., 13-cv-03013, and American Broadcasting Cos. Inc. v. Aereo Inc., 12-cv-01540, U.S. District, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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