Aereo CEO: Feds not all against us

The CEO of a company that offers online video streaming of broadcast content says the U.S. government is not uniformly opposed to this company, even though the Department of Justice agrees with broadcasters who say the company is violating copyright laws.

"There are lots of parts of government whose agenda lines very squarely with the direction, the sensibility and the mission of our company," Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia said during an upcoming episode of C-SPAN's "The Communicators."

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Earlier this year, the Justice Department filed a brief in the case between Aereo and broadcasters and sided with the broadcasters, who argue that Aereo violates copyright law by streaming broadcast programming without compensating the broadcasters.

Aereo argues that its service is legal because it streams broadcast content that is free over-the-air for people who have antennas. 

Aereo contends that it has an antenna for each subscriber and applies new technologies — including cloud storage and recording capabilities — to the broadcast content.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case next week.

Kanojia said Aereo was "very disappointed" and "shocked" when the Justice Department backed the broadcasters, and he noted the Copyright Office's role in the brief.

"It wasn't the [Federal Communications Commission], it wasn’t Commerce Department ... it wasn't anybody except for the Copyright Office," which is "tasked on a very narrow and in a very lobbied way around copyright," he said.

"It left people with the impression that the government is against us, which is absolutely not true."

Kanojia declined to guess at Aereo's odds at the Supreme Court but said he anticipates broadcasters turning to Congress if they lose at the Supreme Court.

"The standard playbook is litigate, and if you fail, legislate. And if you fail at legislation, then figure out a good business model," he said.

Aereo is "not engaged in the moment in seeking any legislative change," but congressional staffers are interested in becoming Aereo subscribers, Kanojia said.

While the service is not available in the D.C. area, "it resonates very much" with staffers, he said. "They don't make enough money to have cable."