Millennium Post

NRI takes on Fox, CBS, ABC, Disney in US Supreme Court

In a ‘David vs Goliath’ battle in the US Supreme Court, an Indian-American innovator has been challenged by major American broadcasters like CBS and Fox for coming out with a cost-effective broadcasting technology. Bhopal-born Chaitanya Kanojia, the founder and CEO of groundbreaking online TV platform 'Aereo', has developed proprietary cloud-based antenna and DVR technology that allows consumers to watch live or recorded HD broadcast television on virtually any type of Internet-connected device.

Consumers can watch live or recorded HD broadcast television on devices like smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and computers at the fraction of the current cost. ‘We believe that consumers are entitled to use a modern, cloud-based, version of an antenna and DVR and that consumers should not be constrained to 1950's era technology to watch free-to-air broadcast television,’ Kanojia said after he was dragged to the Supreme Court by major American broadcasters, who allege that his technology is theft.

Major media companies like Disney, ABC, Fox, Univision and CBS, allege that Aereo is violating copyright by allowing ‘public performances’ of shows. Aereo has argued that it is only enabling private screenings just like off-the-shelf TV antennas do.
‘The broadcasters' positions in this case, if sustained, would impair cloud innovation and threaten the myriad benefits to individuals, companies and the economy at large of the advances in cloud computing and cloud storage,’ Kanojia said. During the court hearing, Aereo was asked about the technology and the concerns of the major US broadcasters.

‘Your technological model is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don't want to comply with,’ Chief Justice John Roberts said during the hearing. However, the Aereo attorney argued that its breakthrough technology only follows the traditional methods of allowing people to watch free broadcast if they are able to catch the signals.

‘There's no content being provided. There's (only) equipment that's being provided,’ David Frederick, Aereo's lawyer argued. Roberts said, ‘There's no technological reason for you to have 10,000 dime-sized antennas, other than to get around the copyright law.’
"We wanted to tell consumers, 'You can replicate the experience (of owning a TV antenna) at very small cost," Frederick argued. In fact, several of the justices in their questioning repeatedly expressed concerns that a broad ruling against Aereo would imperil the nascent cloud computing industry because of how Aereo works. They seemed to search for a way to avoid that outcome.
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