Internet TV streaming company Aereo launched a new site today to explain how its service isn’t breaking copyright law, as broadcasters charge. Next Tuesday, Aereo’s lawyers will have an opportunity to explain to the Supreme Court why its services are legal and aren’t violating broadcasters’ copyright protections.
In the run-up to the Supreme Court arguments, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia went on Katie Couric’s new Yahoo News show to defend his company and explain what he thinks will happen if they lose.
“It will be a tragic outcome,” he told Couric, adding that if there was no viable business plan the company might have to go out of business. Even if that were to happen, he noted, the technology Aereo has created still has significant value to a lot of people.
That technology could be acquired, he said, although he didn’t sound very excited about the prospect. “It’s a very depressing thing when you’re acquired,” he said. “The moment you realize you are no longer doing what you really love to do and you have to go sit in a meeting with some suit … who’s going to tell you how it’s going to be and make your life miserable, it’s just depressing.”
All of the publicity surrounding the Supreme Court case could help Aereo raise its profile among potential customers. But it isn’t likely to help very much in the case itself since the nine justices focus on arguments laid out in legal briefs, not newspapers or websites.
The court is expected to release its decision in June. Yesterday, the chances of the Aereo decision being tied went from slim to none after Justice Samuel Alito un-recused himself from the case.
It was never clear why he was recused in the first place, although some court watchers have assumed it might have something to do with his investments. The court didn’t offer any insights yesterday about why he’s back on the bench but simply said he would be participating in the oral arguments.
NBCUniversal, a party in this case, is an investor in Revere Digital, Re/code’s parent company.