In a 6-3 vote, the US Supreme Court today said Internet startup company Aereo Inc. is violating the rights of broadcasting companies by taking their signals for free.
The justices ruled Aereo has to pay broadcasters when it takes their television programs from the airwaves and allows customers to watch them, the Associated Press reports.
Some justices worried during arguments in April that a ruling for the broadcasters could also harm the burgeoning world of cloud computing, which gives users access to a vast online computer network that stores and processes information.
But Justice Stephen Breyer in his majority opinion that the court did not intend to call cloud computing into question.
Aereo uses dime-sized antennas to transmit programs over the Internet, allowing subscribers to stream and record TV online through a computer, smartphone or other mobile devices. The service is available in 11 cities including Boston, New York, Miami, and Atlanta, starting at $8 a month.
Several major broadcasters including ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC sued Aereo and argued the company should pay for redistributing their programs just like cable and satellite systems do.