Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said his company is “technically, legally and morally” right in its fight against broadcasters.
Speaking with Yahoo News’s Katie Couric — as part of a widespread media tour before next week’s oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court — Kanojia defended the company, which will argue that its service doesn't violate copyright law.
The online streaming service says it does not need to compensate broadcasters because it streams content that would be free over-the-air with a traditional antenna, and it contends that it has an antenna for every user.
“There is no legal basis for the position [broadcasters] take, except 'we don’t like it,' ” Kanojia said.
“ 'And if we don’t like it, since we are the mighty broadcasters, it must be wrong.' ”
On the other hand, Kanojia said Aereo’s argument is legally sound as it combines technological elements — including antennas, recording devices and remote storage — that have previously been deemed legal.
“I do have a great degree of confidence in that basic argument.”
Losing at the Supreme Court “would be a tragic outcome for a company that had the courage to step up,” he said.
Kanojia said he sympathized with the broadcasters, who are responding to the changing ways customers consume video content and the threats that Aereo poses to a shrinking customer base.
“I understand what they’re doing and why,” he said.