Aereo CEO: 'Our work is not done'

Chet Kanojia says he'll continue to fight for consumers and innovation after the Supreme Court rules his streaming-TV startup is illegal, but he details no plan.

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Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Aereo Chief Executive Chet Kanojia said his startup, determined to be illegal by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, won't stop advocating for consumers and innovation, but he was silent on the company's next steps.

"We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done. We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world," he said in a statement.

The Supreme Court earlier Wednesday concluded Aereo was operating illegally, saying the service that streams over-the-air TV to paying subscribers is effectively the same as the very first cable companies but with fancier technology. Such companies must pay licensing fees, but Aereo has always argued it needn't because it is an antenna company renting individual equipment to consumers and hooking it up to the Internet. The decision was a victory for television broadcasters that sued to shut Aereo down. CBS, the parent company of CNET, is among the companies involved in the suit.

Following the 6-3 opinion against his company, Kanojia called the decision a "massive setback for the American consumer."

"Today's decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter. This sends a chilling message to the technology industry," he said.

He agreed with the dissenting opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia that the court cannot ensure the decision will allow other cloud-storage operators to thrive unaffected. And he emphasized how the current over-the-air system works against people who cannot afford to pay for pricey cable or satellite packages.

However, Kanojia didn't address Aereo's next, practical steps. Following the Supreme Court's ruling, the case will be remanded to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which has few options other than to grant the broadcasters the injunction they originally sought. In the past, Kanojia has said the company has no Plan B if the court ruled against it and that Aereo would determine its strategy once the Supreme Court defined the rules.

 

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