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Aereo finally admits defeat and files for bankruptcy

For a moment there, streaming video operator Aereo put on a brave face that it could continue despite last June’s Supreme Court ruling against the company. While some interpretations of that ruling seemed to suggest that Aereo could be considered a cable company if it was willing to pay retransmission fees and effectively function as a delayed DVR service, those dreams were dashed in an October ruling that granted a pretty broad injunction by broadcasters. Judge Alison Nathan effectively stated at the time that Aereo should go ahead and die as the Supreme Court intended, and stop with all the postmortem twitching.

Aereo stormed onto the media landscape about three years ago with a tiny dime-size antenna and a grand plan not only to change the way people watched television but also to upend the economics of the TV industry. That plan, which set off one of the largest legal battles in the history of television, essentially died on Friday when the streaming television start-up said that it had filed for bankruptcy protection. Chet Kanojia, the company’s chief executive, said in a blog post that Aereo’s legal and regulatory challenges ultimately proved too difficult to overcome. “While our team has focused its energies on exploring every path forward available to us, without that clarity, those challenges have limited our options,” he said. The announcement came about five months after a Supreme Court decision that essentially shredded Aereo’s business model. The court ruled that Aereo violated copyright laws by capturing broadcast signals on its antennas and transmitting them to subscribers for a fee. The case was sent back to lower courts, and Aereo spent the last several months trying to find an approach that would have allowed it to continue operations. Aereo said on Friday that bankruptcy protection would allow it to “maximize the value of its business and assets” without the costs and distractions of litigation.

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