Supreme Court Holds Online Broadcaster Aereo In Violation of Copyright Act: In Narrow Decision, Court Holds That Aereo Violates TV Broadcasters’ Exclusive Public Performance Rights

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - June 26, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court has effectively shuttered online broadcaster Aereo, finding that its novel service of transmitting broadcast television to subscribers’ digital devices violates federal copyright law.  In American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, Inc., the Court overturned the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and held that Aereo performs television broadcasters’ works publicly within the meaning of the 1976 Copyright Act’s Transmit Clause.  The decision appears to foreclose Aereo’s business model and to prohibit the company from serving as a low-priced alternative to cable TV.