[A2k] Brian Fung in the Washington Post: The Supreme Court just killed Aereo

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Jun 25 08:15:26 PDT 2014


http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/06/25/the-supreme-court-just-killed-aereo/

<SNIP>

Three conservative justices dissented: Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and
Samuel Alito. Comparing Aereo to a "copy shop that provides its patrons
with a library card," Scalia argued that Aereo didn't transmit anything at
all — its customers play the content to themselves, and so couldn't have
violated copyright law.

--

The Switch <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch>
The Supreme Court just killed Aereo
BY BRIAN FUNG <http://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/brian-fung> June 25 at
10:40 AM

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court has ruled
<http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-461_l537.pdf> that Aereo is
in violation of copyright law when it streams over-the-air TV channels to
consumers.

The ruling is a major victory for broadcasters, who have demanded that
Aereo pay them a fee for carrying TV content. Writing for the Court,
Justice Stephen Breyer said Aereo is no different from other video
providers because the content it sends to viewers constitutes a "public
performance." That's despite the fact Aereo gives each of its subscribers
their own TV antennas in a deliberate attempt to circumvent that legal
issue.

"These behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish
Aereo's system from cable systems, which do perform publicly," the Court's
opinion reads.

This means that like cable companies, Aereo must pay for "retransmission"
of broadcast content. Aereo had argued that its service was merely an
extension of traditional cloud-based DVR services. Aereo defenders claimed
during oral arguments that a negative outcome for the company would result
in unintended consequences for the broader cloud computing industry. But
the Court doesn't seem to agree, asserting simply that it doesn't expect
its narrow ruling on Aereo to hamper innovation, as some fear it will.

"Given the limited nature of this holding, the Court does not believe its
decision will discourage the emergence or use of different kinds of
technologies," according to the opinion.

Three conservative justices dissented: Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and
Samuel Alito. Comparing Aereo to a "copy shop that provides its patrons
with a library card," Scalia argued that Aereo didn't transmit anything at
all — its customers play the content to themselves, and so couldn't have
violated copyright law.

While Aereo will likely live on in some form over the near term, its entire
business model was predicated on avoiding paying retransmission fees.

Had the Court ruled the other way, the decision would have likely upended
the entire television industry
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/06/19/inside-the-supreme-courts-high-stakes-bet-on-the-future-of-television/>
.



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