Vanquished in Court, Aereo Eyes Bankruptcy

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Aereo filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, less than a month after a federal judge conceded that her ruling against the digital broadcaster spelled “the end of its business.”
     To major networks, Aereo’s online-streaming technology was a fig leaf for infringement.
     Internet users would be assigned one of Aereo’s numerous dime-sized antennae in its Brooklyn warehouse when logging onto the service.
     With Fox and other major networks like ABC, CBS and NBC filing federal complaints on both coasts, some digital rights groups stepped to Aereo’s aid, warning that the networks’ interpretation of copyright law would stifle innovation.
     Once New York and California courts split , the Supreme Court took up the case and dealt Aereo a fatal blow, in a decision favoring the networks by a 6-to-3 margin.
     Fighting for its life in Manhattan , Aereo leaped upon a loophole that it said the Supreme Court decision created. A federal judge nevertheless indicated last month that Aereo would have to give up the ghost.
     And so it did.
     Aereo’s website now has a letter from its CEO Chet Kanojia explaining the company’s plan for reorganization.
     “Chapter 11 will permit Aereo to maximize the value of its business and assets without the extensive cost and distraction of defending drawn out litigation in several courts,” Kanojia wrote. “We have traveled a long and challenging road. We stayed true to our mission and we believe that we have played a significant part in pushing the conversation forward, helping force positive change in the industry for consumers.”
     The company’s bankruptcy petition estimates its assets at between $10 and $50 million, and its liabilities at between $1 and $10 million.
     It has been 200 and 999 creditors, the 20-page petition states.
     The three largest, by far, are Level 3 Communications, a telecom; Quality Technology Services, a real estate trust operating data centers; and Google, according to the petition.

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