By Dan Duval - Woodard, Emhardt, Moriarty, McNett & Henry LLP
On Wednesday, June 25, the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo violated copyright laws by publicly performing copyrighted works. Aereo is a startup whose business model revolves around recording broadcast television programming and storing the programming on their servers. The programming is then streamed on demand to users who pay a monthly fee for the service. The court analogized the business model to cable and satellite television companies who pay billions in fees for the right to retransmit broadcast television programming. Dissenters are concerned that this ruling could have broader impacts pertaining to internet streaming services, arguing that copyright laws are not violated so long as the material is legally obtained and then delivered at the request of an individual (and is therefore a private vs. public performance). The Supreme Court was careful to state that their ruling only applies to the specific circumstances of the Aereo case, but only time will tell the full impacts of the ruling.