Aereo, the service that provides those who cut the cord a DVR option and an easier way to access broadcast TV on tablets and desktops, just lost a major ruling at the Supreme Court today.
The two-year-old service uses miniature antennas to pick up the broadcast signals and charges subscribers $8 to $12 with storage included. About 500,000 households in about a dozen cities, including Atlanta, use Aereo.
"The broadcasters won. It was a slam dunk for them," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president for research at Horizon Media Inc.
The decision is exactly what major broadcasters such as ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC were hoping for. They believe Aereo is stealing their copyrighted transmissions. Cable and satellite companies pay millions to retransmit their signals. Aereo, using what they see as a loophole in copyright law, pays nothing.
"We’re gratified the Court upheld important Copyright principles that help ensure that the high-quality creative content consumers expect and demand is protected and incentivized,” ABC said in a statement.
Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement that the ruling was a “massive setback” for consumers and “sends a chilling message to the technology industry.”
UPDATE on June 28: The service said it has placed a "pause" on operations as of 11:30 a.m. today as it appeals the case in a lower court.
The broadcast networks had threatened to take their signals off the open airwaves if Aereo continued to offer its service.
When BET's 'The Game" returned to the air in early 2011 after it was canceled by the CW, the Atlanta-shot comedy drew a whopping 7.7 million viewers, the network's biggest take ever for a scripted show.
The network at the time credited social media, especially a popular Facebook fan page created by Stacey Mattocks.
This week, Mattocks sued BET for forcing her site down, according to a story by the Hollywood Reporter.
BET back in 2011 tried to hire her as a social media coordinator and at times, tried to just take over the page. At first, she worked as a freelancer. They offered her a social media job for up to $85,000, which sounds pretty good, but she refused because she would have lost the rights to her page.
The two sides went back and forth with no resolution until mid-2012, when BET ordered Facebook to take the page down since she was using BET intellectual property.
According to the story, "She's now alleging that BET has committed tortious interference, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and copyright infringement."
The show itself has lost quite a bit of its popularity with fans since that 2011 launch and draws around 2 to 2.5 million viewers, still a hefty number for BET.
Rob Redding, formerly on WAOK-AM, is back in town to be part of an '80's rock comedy stage play opening at the end of the month.
Redding will play the older version of Coy in the finale of "Ghosts of Rock."
The play is loosely based on "A Christmas Carol," said Director Keena Hunt. Rock gods such as Jimi Hendrix look down and see rock in peril and send in three ghosts of rock: past, present and future. They merge with the spirits of blues and rock legends, a fast-track to the musical mileage they desperately need.
The production will run at the Rich Theater at Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta from June 27th to 28th .
You can purchase tickets at: 404-733-5000
Fox 5 is adding another half-hour of local news from 8:30 a.m. to 9 .m. on Saturdays starting July 5, bumping off a show called "Awesome Adventures."
WAGA-TV by far airs the most local news programming in Atlanta, with about 73 hours a week out of 168 potential hours.