Like almost every case that comes before a US court, the Aereo case was couched in property law. And, so was the supreme courts decision against the company. Arguments were formulated on both sides that pitted the copyrighted material owned by broadcasters against the technology owner end by Aereo.
The Supreme Court rendered its decision by assimilating Aereo’s service with that of a community antenna tv operator (cable tv, to the rest of us) which was only possible because Aereo owns – has the property of – the entire system. This includes those tiny antennas they use for capturing the Over The Air signals.
Based on our reading of the court’s decision, the only way the court could consider Aereo is providing public screenings is because they own the whole process: antenna tuning, signal capture, saving to server, and transmission to client. However, Aereo’s service is actually two distinct products: the antenna and the cloud-based storage system.
It is our contention that if Aereo changes its business model thereby breaking the chain of ownership they can circumvent the ruling and comply with copyright laws. The company should simply sell the antennas to the users and charge a monthly fee for antenna maintenance and the DVR service.
Once the antenna becomes the private property of the user there can be no doubt that the screening is a private screening.
To read the complete Supreme Court ruling, click here.