Business

Aereo TV streaming firm files for bankruptcy protection

Aereo boss Chet Kanojia Image copyright AP
Image caption Aereo boss Chet Kanojia said the Supreme Court ruling created created "regulatory and legal uncertainty"

Aereo, the TV streaming upstart meant to take on US cable firms, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that threw the company's legality into doubt.

That decision "effectively changed the laws that had governed Aereo's technology," said Aereo chief executive Chet Kanojia in a statement.

Aereo used small antennas stored in warehouses to capture local TV signals.

Subscribers could stream those signals via Aereo for around $8 per month.

However, US cable companies argued that the company was exploiting a loophole in US law regarding the transmission of local television signals and violating their intellectual property.

In June, the US Supreme Court effectively agreed with those broadcasters - which included CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox - and ruled Aereo's business violated US copyright law.

In an opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court ruled Aereo's service was not distinct from what cable and satellite companies offered.

"Aereo is not simply an equipment provider... Aereo sells a service that allows subscribers to watch television programmes, many of which are copyrighted, almost as they are being broadcast," he wrote.

The company suspended its service in the wake of the ruling.

According to its bankruptcy filing in a New York court, Aereo had assets of $20.5m and debt of $4.2m.

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