Uber isn't going down so easily. Even as taxicabs honk their horns across the country in protest, Uber's growth has been extraordinary. Since it launched in 2009, the company now has drivers in 67 cities in North America and 36 countries worldwide. According to The Wall Street Journal, Uber is now valued at $18.2 billion.
"AirBnB and Uber are doing just fine," said Kafka, who argues that people should not look at Aereo as any sort of precursor for the future. "DropBox or Google or YouTube are not going to stop doing what they are doing. The question around Aereo was always designed to be litigated. They knew from the get-go that this would be something they would fight in court. They went in knowing that," said Kafka.
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Aereo Founder, Chet Kanojia, begs to differ. "We've said all along that we worked diligently to create a technology that complies with the law, but today's decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter," said Kanojia, calling the ruling a "massive setback for the American consumer."
Matt Schruers, a lawyer for the Computer and Communications Industry Association and writer at the Disruptive Competition Project, says the ruling could spark a whole new set of lawsuits against up-and-coming small cloud companies. "[At risk] is anybody who is doing something new and a little bit different," says Schruers, whose organization represents Aereo.
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As he sees it, the fallout is two-fold: young entrepreneurs will be less willing to take risks, and investors, less willing to invest. Schruers says those starting companies will say, "Even if I had all sorts of fail-safes in place to ensure that it was content that the end user was lawfully entitled to have, I could still be sued because that's a public performance." And those investing in companies will say, "'Wait a minute, your service has some kind of content playing feature? I'm not interested.' They'll take their money elsewhere," said Schruers.
—By Reilly Dowd, The Fiscal Times