In a strong majority decision, the Supreme Court ruled against Aereo today saying that their business violated copyright by stealing signals. And I must admit that I am a bit shocked. I saw the rental of the antenna through Aereo as a proper work around to forcing a homeowner to instal an antenna in the home. And given that the signals are broadcast free over the air, I would argue that you can't steal what is free. For those fans of the start up, cord cutters in particular, access to broadcaster signals through their service will be denied.
So what is next for Aereo? Shut down completely or start to negotiate individually with each broadcaster in each demographic for license fees to connect to the network. And given the agreements these same broadcasters make for access to subscribers to Comcast, Charter, DirecTv and other, the license fees for a comparatively tiny subscriber base like Aereo will be too high to continue the business model.
The other question that should be asked is how will content streaming and capture be treated based on this new ruling. Will it have a notable effect or be limited to this specific ruling? Content is king in this scenario and ownership enables content creators to negotiate those rights as they seem fit. This ruling strengthens that position and places content ahead of distribution.