Washington: Asserting that consumer access to free-to-air broadcast television is an essential part of the country`s fabric, Indian-American innovator Chet Kanojia has said the US Supreme Court`s decision that his streaming television startup violates the Copyright Act is a massive setback for millions of American consumers.
The "decision by the Supreme Court is a massive setback for the American consumer," Kanojia said after the apex court ruled 6-3 in favour of the powerful television broadcasters, which were threatened by Aereo`s innovative technologies.
"We`ve said all along that we worked diligently to create a technology that complies with the law, but today`s decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter," he said in a statement.
"This sends a chilling message to the technology industry. It is troubling that the court states in its decision that, `to the extent commercial actors or other interested entities may be concerned with the relationship between the development and use of such technologies and the Copyright Act, they are of course free to seek action from Congress.` That begs the question: Are we moving towards a permission-based system for technology innovation," he said.
"Consumer access to free-to-air broadcast television is an essential part of our country`s fabric. Using an antenna to access free-to-air broadcast television is still meaningful for more than 60 million Americans across the US," he said.
Kanojia said free-to-air broadcast television should not be available only to those who can afford to pay for the cable or satellite bundle.
Headed by Kanojia, Aereo has developed cloud-based antenna and DVR technology that allows consumers to watch live or recorded HD broadcast television on virtually any type of Internet-connected devices like smart TVs and smartphones.
Kanojia launched the product in New York last year and then extended it to 10 other cities.
Soon the top American cable broadcasters including ABC, CBS and Fox approached the Supreme Court alleging that Aereo was an infringement on the current copy right laws.
In the ruling, Justice Stephen Breyer said that it was a limited decision that will not "discourage the emergence or use of different kinds of technologies."
According to Breyer, Aereo is no different from other video providers because the content it sends to viewers constitutes a "public performance."
"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," Kanojia added.