Aereo CEO calls fans to action

After losing in the Supreme Court, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia aims to keep up the fight by rallying the company's supporters.

Aereo's CEO Chet Kanojia talking to a group of start-ups in New York
Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, speaking in New York. Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Aereo couldn't win in the Supreme Court, but it could still succeed in the court of public opinion.

Just days after saying it would temporarily pause operations, the startup called on its fans to speak out for its service, telling them to contact their elected officials to show support.

"Today, I'm asking you to raise your hands and make your voices heard," Aereo Chief Executive Chet Kanojia said in a statement Tuesday. "Tell your lawmakers how disappointed you are that the nation's highest court issued a decision that could deny you the right to use the antenna of your choice to access live over-the-air broadcast television."

Last week, the Supreme Court decided that Aereo was illegally retransmitting broadcast television over the Internet without paying broadcasters any fees. The ruling was a victory for broadcasters, which sued the startup in an effort to protect the lucrative payments they receive from cable and satellite operators to retransmit their signals. (CBS, the parent company of CNET, is one of the broadcasters suing Aereo.)

Aereo had been changing $8 to $12 for its service, which dedicates a mini-antenna to each subscriber to capture over-the-air TV signals, store them in a remote DVR, and stream them to connected devices in a member's home.

The company updated a website, ProtectMyAntenna.org, with information on how supporters can reach their elected officials via Facebook, Twitter, and email to encourage them "to take action to protect your right to use the antenna of your choice," Kanojia said.

A suggested Facebook message or tweet on the site reads: "#SCOTUS got it wrong. I should have the right to use a cloud-based antenna to watch TV live. Pls take action #ProtectMyAntenna".

Kanojia has expressed that Aereo isn't ready to concede defeat following the high court ruling, which found that Aereo's current business model violates copyright law despite the company's argument that it is simply an equipment rental service.

The following is Kanojia's letter in full.

A Letter to Our Consumers: Standing Together for Innovation, Progress and Technology - Let's Raise Our Voices

On Saturday, many of you received the news that we decided to pause our operations temporarily, as a result of the United States Supreme Court's reversal of a lower court decision in favor of Aereo.

Your response in support of the Aereo team has been overwhelming and touching. Your tweets, emails and Facebook posts have made it clear how important it is for so many Americans to have access to a cloud-based antenna to watch live broadcast television. Many of you have asked, "What can we do?"

Today, I'm asking you to raise your hands and make your voices heard. Tell your lawmakers how disappointed you are that the nation's highest court issued a decision that could deny you the right to use the antenna of your choice to access live over-the-air broadcast television. Tell them your stories of why having access to a cloud-based antenna is important to you and your families. Show them you care about this issue.

Visit the updated ProtectMyAntenna.org, find your representatives and send tweets, emails and Facebook messages asking them to take action to protect your right to use the antenna of your choice to access live free-to-air broadcasts, including the ability to use a cloud-based antenna.

Don't let your voices be silenced. Let's stand together for innovation, progress, and technology.

Thank you for your continued support. We are truly grateful.

Yours truly,

Chet Kanojia

Tags:
Internet
Aereo
About the author

Ben Fox Rubin is a staff writer for CNET, covering component suppliers, mobile and general technology. He previously wrote for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. Ben grew up in Philly, where he developed an affinity for the Eagles and Rocky-style exercise montages.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
ZTE's wallet-friendly Grand X (pictures)
Lenovo reprises clever design for the Yoga Tablet 2 (Pictures)
Top-rated reviews of the week (pictures)
Best iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases
Make your own 'Star Wars' snowflakes (pictures)
Bento boxes and gear for hungry geeks (pictures)