ABC v Aereo — Why You Should Care

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar DavidTC says:

    “I mean, there’s no technological reason for you to have 10,000 dime-sized antenna, other than to get around copyright laws.”

    It’s things like that that make me despair of the Supreme Court.

    Yes, you idiot. Aereo is doing it *this* way because the *other* way would be illegal, and this way *isn’t*. Wow, we’ve got a bunch of rocket scientists on the court here.

    Renting equipment is legal.

    Time shifting is legal.

    Transferring data you own over the internet is legal.

    Every single bit of Aereo’s business model is legal.

    “I mean, there’s no technological reason for you not to drive your car at 120 miles an hour, other than to get around speed limit laws.”Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Chief Justice Roberts said, “I mean, there’s no logical reason for you to object to a court overseeing your redistricting plan other than because you intend to violate the law.”Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        At some point, it just becomes blatantly obvious that the entire right side of the court’s ‘logic’ is just ‘What can we say to get the outcome we want?’.

        Remember, folks, Roberts thinks *jumping through stupid hoops to follow the law* is ‘getting around’ the law.

        You want to know something there’s ‘no technological reason’ for?

        Requiring *any* payment for someone to replicate *freely available content* to people who could already get it the other way. That person is providing a public service, and doing a favor for the original distribution.

        And oddly, I say this as someone that *loathes* cable companies. But I see absolutely no reason why them setting up an antenna and an amp and running broadcast TV to everyone’s house should require them to *pay* for that.

        The ‘public performance’ rules of copyright are completely nonsensical at this point, and should be restricted, at the very least, to not cover things that are freely available and replicated unaltered.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      On point sir!Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      I didn’t put a prediction into the post, but I’ll put one here. My current method for predicting the Roberts’ court results are “If the case is a business vs a natural person, they’ll find for the business. If the case is a large established business vs a smaller one, they’ll find for the large business.” Based on that, I expect that Aereo is toast. Given that that’s the decision five justices want, the argument will be that the antenna is not the critical component, that the tuner is, and as Aereo doesn’t provide dedicated tuners, they lose. The analogy they’ll probably drag out is little apartment buildings (say five or six units) that put up a single antenna and a small broadband analog amplifier, then each apartment has its own tuners that share the signal — no one claims the builder owner should be paying redistribution fees.

      I’m feeling rather cynical about things this morning.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        Yeah, that’s pretty much my prediction.

        But could you expand a little more on ‘Aereo doesn’t provide dedicated tuners’?Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        Aereo’s argument is that it does nothing without both an already-formed relationship with the end-user and specific direction by that end-user. Meaning, it’s not just like they say “come here get your TV” and anyone on the internet can download it (a la YouTube). And therefore, Aereo claims, the retransmissions are the end-user’s responsibility; Aereo is merely facilitating the activity, as though you had told your butler to go downstairs and program the DVR to record something.

        The counterargument is that for this to be true in the current legal environment, Aereo must operate dedicated hardware for each and every end-user, and every time it gets a new user it has to bring a new hardware installation on line. And, say the petitioners, Aereo is not doing this, but instead just recording everything and putting it on a big storage disk; when a user requests something, Aereo uses this archive as the source rather than a user-linked DVR box, which means that Aereo is in fact conducting unauthorized public performances of copyrighted television broadcasts.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    Thank you for this.

    We’ve been talking about this for a while, now. This might be a good time to lease a reciever in an act of solidarity. I’ll suggest it to my sweetie.Report

  3. Avatar notme says:

    I think the recent Michigan affirmative action court case is more interesting. I find it interesting that a “wise Latina” would find that race neutral admissions are somehow racist.Report

    • Avatar ian351c says:

      The short answer is “because we’re not there yet.” A child that grows up with unequal access to healthcare, education, housing, food, etc. and is overwhelmingly likely to be a child of color should be given a “leg up” wherever possible until such a time comes that the statistics of poverty and crime in this country no longer reflect any racial tendencies. It’s not a perfect policy, but Affirmative Action is one way to help level the playing field for future generations.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      You want the numbers? Because we can get the numbers, if you want.

      Personally, I’m all in favor of wealth redistribution towards those who have been discriminated against (say the folks in NC who won a class action against the banks). That’d fix most problems.

      But talk about things in terms of dollars and cents, instead of fuzzy “admissions” and folks go apeshit.Report

    • Something about not feeding the trolls. Seriously, people, let’s not take the bait of such an obvious attempt at a threadjack.Report

  4. Avatar Mo says:

    I actually think the reason why the broadcasters are fighting so hard has to do with cable companies. They would love to replace rebroadcast fees with millions of tiny antennas. I’m guessing they can make back the just the 50 cents a month they pay CBS, let alone Fox and ABC.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      This was kind of my thought. Or, at the least, it loses the leverage they have in negotiations with the cable companies. Both because the cable company itself could supply the devices, and because a lot of rural cable customers get cable specifically because they can’t get broadcast channels otherwise.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        I would not, this wouldn’t work for rural customers. Aereo specifically only works if you are in the broadcast range. So if I am a NYC subscriber and I’m on business in Chicago, short of using a VPN, I can’t access my TV.Report

  5. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m just not seeing it. What, precisely, is the relationship between the signal appearing at the terminals of “your” antenna and the bitstream you access when you watch a program later?

    It looks to me like what Aerio is claiming to be doing would be totally legit. Unfortunately, what they’re really doing is something else entirely and then they’re justifying it by saying that this way makes more sense technically (true) and the end result for the consumer is the same anyway.

    Here’s the thing… if they were really doing what they claim to be doing, then limiting customers to within broadcast range wouldn’t actually be necessary. If I owned property in Miami and New York, would there be any legal reason I couldn’t Slingbox a signal from one to the other? Would leasing rather than owning the hardware make any difference?Report