By Ed Cardenas

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Aereo, a web-based television streaming service which transmitted over-the-air television shows for viewing on the Internet company’s website, is illegal.

The ruling is considered a major victory for television networks, which had argued, according to the New York Times, that “Aereo’s business model amounted to a theft of their programming.” Billions of dollars the networks receive from cable and satellite companies in retransmission fees were potentially at stake.

Justices ruled 6-3 in the case of ABC vs. Aereo, finding that the service provided by Aereo – which broadcasts the programming over the Internet – violates the Copyright Act.

Aereo utilizes dime sized antennas – each assigned to a specific subscriber – in a centralized location to capture programming and then use transcoders to take the signal, send it to a subscriber-specific folder on Aereo’s hard drive and then transmit the saved copy of the program over the Internet with a several-second delay. The selected program could also be saved for later viewing.

According to a report on, broadcasters including CBS Detroit’s parent company CBS, that Aereo was illegally obtaining their content and then charging subscribers to view the programming.

“Aereo is not simply an equipment provider,” the ruling stated. “Aereo sells a service that allows subscribers to watch television programs, many of which are copyrighted, almost as they are being broadcast.”

The $8 a-month service was available in cities nationwide, including Detroit, and offered networks including Fox, NBC, ABC, The CW, PBS, CBS and WADL-TV.

“We are pleased with today’s decision, which is great news for content creators and their audiences,” Dana McClintock, a CBS spokesman, said in a statement.


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