Get All Access for $5/mo

Aereo to Supreme Court: Our Streaming TV Service 'Falls Squarely Within the Law' The bold startup once again slams big broadcasters for claiming its business model thrashes copyright laws, setting the tone for its defense in a federal court battle that begins next month.

By Kim Lachance Shandrow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Aereo

Aereo isn't going down without a fight. Not even close.

The controversial streaming TV service yesterday filed a 100-page Supreme Court opening brief to once again defend itself against major broadcasters' claims that it's violating the U.S. Copyright Act by letting its subscribers watch their live broadcast programming online.

The Barry Diller-backed startup apparently isn't afraid to take on the royalty-hungry media Goliath known as network TV's Big Four -- ABC, CBS Broadcasting, NBCUniversal and Fox Television Studios. The networks want the Supreme Court to shut down Aereo, accusing the firm of outright stealing their copyrighted programming signals on a massive scale.

Related: In Aereo's Battle With Broadcasters, Justice Department Picks a Side

"Today, we filed our response brief, setting forth the basis for our steadfast conviction that Aereo's cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law," Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia said in a passionate letter addressed to subscribers released on his company's blog yesterday. It was fittingly titled "Standing up for technology, innovation and progress."

"We have every confidence that the Court will validate and preserve a consumer's right to access local over-the-air television using an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice," said Kanojia. "We think you should be able to decide whether you use home equipment or whether you take advantage of the ease, convenience and lower cost of cloud-based equipment and storage."

Aereo uses a sophisticated tiny antenna and cloud-based DVR system that lets subscribers watch live broadcast TV on their smartphones, tablets and internet-connected TVs.

Its investors, which have poured some $97 million into the 2-year-old company to date, seem to think the startup stands a decent chance against the broadcast TV giants, as it already has on three different occasions -- once in federal district court and twice in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Related: Aereo Just Raised $34 Million to Expand 50 Percent in Next 3 Months

Now the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear opening oral arguments on April 22 in the American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo case, the outcome of which could spell sweeping changes -- or worse, the end -- not only for Aereo, but for fellow streaming media competitors like Crackle, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Perhaps not for Hulu, though. It's owned by corporate mammoths NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox and the Walt Disney Company.

Aereo, which offers subscriptions starting at $8 per month, is still streaming on during the good fight in several large American cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Miami, New York and San Antonio. On its website, the company says it will expand to 16 more cities soon.

Related: Aereo CEO: 'We're On the Side of the Angels'

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.

Leadership

This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.

Leadership

Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.