Three days after it was told by the U.S. Supreme Court that its method of streaming live television programs over the Internet violates broadcasters’ copyrights, Aereo, Inc. suspended its operations effective at 11:30 AM last Saturday. In a letter to his company’s 500,000 customers, Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia confirmed, “we have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps.” Aereo subscribers in a dozen markets nationwide had paid between $8 and $12 per month to rent one of thousands of dime-size antennas that had been developed by Aereo to capture over-the-air broadcast programming that would be streamed online for viewing on subscriber PCs, smart phones and other wireless devices. Although Aereo argued that the design of its service posed no issues that relate to the public performance rights granted to broadcasters by virtue of their copyrights, the Supreme Court decreed in a 6-3 ruling that Aereo’s distribution model acts like a cable TV service. The high court majority thus held that Aereo’s method of streaming live television programming constitutes a public performance under copyright law for which Aereo would be obliged to seek licensing rights from the broadcast industry. As he thanked Aereo customers for their support, Kanojia urged subscribers to “raise your hands and make your voices heard” in Congress, declaring: “the spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American people, and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television, or in the cloud.” Meanwhile, last week’s Supreme Court ruling and its potential impact on cloud-based and other online technologies emerged as lively topics of debate at a panel discussion hosted last Friday by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. Disagreeing that the justices merely subjected Aereo to a “looks-like-cable” test, Copyright Alliance CEO Sandra Aistars explained that the court actually reviewed Aereo’s online streaming service under the “transmit” clause of the Copyright Act, as she stressed that the high court decision “underscores the need not to look for loopholes but to look for real business plans.” A representative of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and other caucus panelists claimed, however, that the decision would have a chilling effect on innovators who have been left uncertain as to whether their technologies and their potential uses would contravene the Copyright Act.