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Aereo suspends operations after Supreme Court verdict

Supreme Court TV On T_Cham640.jpg

FILE - This Dec. 20, 2012 file photo shows Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., holding a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. The Supreme Court has ruled that a start-up Internet company has to pay broadcasters when it takes television programs from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices. The justices said Wednesday by a 6-3 vote that Aereo Inc. is violating the broadcasters' copyrights by taking the signals for free. The ruling preserves the ability of the television networks to collect huge fees from cable and satellite systems that transmit their programming. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Online-streaming service Aereo Inc. is temporarily closing down its operation, three days after it was dealt an unfavorable ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps," Aereo's Chief Executive Officer Chet Kanojia wrote in a letter to customers posted on its website Saturday.

"The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have the 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."

The Supreme Court dealt Aereo, backed by Barry Diller, a major setback on Wednesday in ruling that the television-over-the-Internet service operates much like a cable TV company. As a result, the service violates copyright law unless Aereo pays broadcasters licensing fees for offering TV stations to customers' tablets, phones and other gadgets.

But although the Supreme Court expressed its thinking on the law, it's the U.S. District Court in New York that must issue a preliminary injunction stopping the service, as requested by broadcasters.