U.S. Supreme Court rules Aereo is illegal - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

U.S. Supreme Court rules Aereo is illegal

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WKOW) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an internet company has to pay broadcasters when it takes television programs from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices.  

The justices said Wednesday by a 6-3 vote that Aereo Inc. is violating the broadcasters' copyrights by taking the signals for free. The ruling preserves the ability of the television networks to collect huge fees from cable and satellite systems that transmit their programming.

Aereo already provides services in large markets such as Boston and New York, but planned on expanding to 11 Wisconsin counties this year, including Dane.  Aereo would have set up thousands of tiny antennas the size of dimes somewhere in Madison and then "rented" each antenna to a specific customer.  Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia told 27 News in January of 2013 that's what makes it perfectly legal, because they're not retransmitting a station's signal, they're merely renting out the equipment so people can watch the stations.  But a majority of Justices disagreed, reversing a lower court ruling and effectively ending Aereo's service.

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