The Supreme Court listened to Aereo, but did they understand?

We have no doubt the justices of the Supreme Court are well versed and prepared for any copyright law, but do they understand TV or the hows and whys it can be so frustrating sometimes? Like many of us, possibly not that well — like why HBO can’t keep its streaming service up during Game of Thrones? – which could make reaching a decision in the case between Aereo and the broadcasters seeking to put it out of business especially difficult.

U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical on Tuesday about online TV service Aereo Inc’s position in a copyright dispute with major broadcasters, but several raised concerns about how a ruling against the startup could affect cloud computing services. The case is important to the future of television, for media companies and consumers alike, in part because a win for Aereo could spur innovation in the industry by paving the way to new, cheaper ways for consumers to watch shows. It could also threaten the estimated $3 billion in so-called retransmission fees that broadcasters get from cable and satellite TV systems. Some broadcasters such as CBS Corp have even threatened to cut off their free-to-air broadcast signals or create their own low-cost Internet feeds of the channel were Aereo to win. A loss for Aereo, backed by media mogul Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, could force it to shut down.

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