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  (Source: Warner Bros.)
Aereo looked to spread digital anarchy by reselling others' free content, without permission

Legal precedent in the U.S. has thus far indicated that members of the public have the right to record video from free broadcast recordings and have the right to record cable television -- if they subscribe to it.  But such recordings are only for personal use.  Under U.S. copyright law and court precedent, if you share recordings with your friends, show a recording to a large enough group of people, or rebroadcast (e.g. stream video to others) recordings, you've committed a copyright crime.
Thus it didn't exactly come as a shock when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 6-3 that the privately held Aereo, Inc.'s business model was illegal.
I. Big Media Steals From ... Big Media
Aereo was founded in Feb. 2012 in New York City.  While specific details are unavailable, Aereo is believed to be a wholly owned subsidiary of InterActiveCorp/IAC (IACI), the internet company led by former broadcast executive Barry Charles Diller.

Aereo chief
Aereo was owned by big media executive Barry Diller, who looked at the service as an opportunity to monetize his competitors' content. [Image Source: Aereo Official Blog]
Mr. Diller worked for decades in the television and film industry.  His prominent positions included serving as head of Paramount Pictures, Fox Broadcasting, and USA Broadcasting.  In 1997 he struck out on his own, acquiring Silver King Broadcasting, which at the time owned parts of the Home Shopping Network (HSN) empire and the USA Network.  He eventually would sell those assets and focus on the internet.  Today his firm owns, OKCupid,,, CollegeHumor, The Daily Beast,, Tinder, UrbanSpoon, and Vimeo.  These assets have made Mr. Diller a rich man, worth $2.4B USD.
But as the old saying goes, you can't win them all.
From the start Aereo was a questionable prospect, despite Mr. Diller's enthusiasm.  Its basic premise was to take content from channels that are broadcast for free digitally in the U.S. (broadcast television, not cable television), record that content, and rebroadcast it on demand to users on demand.  The legal dilemma was obviously it was streaming content that it did not own.

The irony was that in many ways what Aereo was doing was far more offensive egregious than (illegal) live streaming by members of the public, in that it was looking to profit off its content piracy, where as most live streaming sites are weakly monetized by ads, at best.

At the end of the day Aereo -- and its supporters -- would consistently fall back on a technically ignorant argument -- that its technology was akin to the DVR.  As you'll see some were fooled by the argument (and some still are).

But the technical ignorance of that false premise is readily apparent.  A normal user watching free broadcast TV would need to purchase a DVR and an antenna to record content.  But at the end of the day the DVR is a private piece of recording equipment which is only legal when privately used.

By contrast Aereo doesn't have and never intended to have millions of completely seperate pieces of hardware -- one per user.  That would never be profitable.  

On the surface it appears that is what it is doing, though -- at first.  In each market, it used dime size antennas and small storage chips dedicated to a (transiently) to a single user to record copies of broadcasts.

Chet Kanojia
Aereo CEO Kanojia poses with his company's backend hardware.  Aereo tried to exploit what it saw as a loophole in the law.  By packing hundreds of dime-sized antennas on a server motherboard packed with storage, it created a monolithic tool to intercept and rebroadcast its competitors content, trying to legally defend itself with consumer DVR exemptions.

But its overall architecture shares a common virtualized DVR interface, meaning that multiple customers are sharing the seem resources.  While the customer may interact with it via an interface that reminds them of their DVR, the technology behind it is far different as a DVR records a copy to replay in one location.  In this case Aereo's servers record one copy, but then stream that copy to thousands of users.  It's a textbook definition of rebroadcasting, and it's fundamentally different from how your DVR works.

Aereo's plan was to monetize its competitors copyrighted content by exploiting a loophole in the law -- using a supercomputer with thousands of tiny antennas to make thousands of copies of copyrighted works which are then rebroadcast.  The inclusion of redundant hardware is clearly trying to exploit the exception that personal copies legal.  But its monolithic design and shared software layer makes it clear that this rebroadcasting device is quite a bit different from your average DVR on a technical level.  That's the root reason why Aereo suffered far more legal woes than TiVo Inc. (TIVO).

To give a brief analogy, it'd be like if a business copyied all the articles off The New York Times, but gave each of its users a private storage chip and only made one copy per request.  You're doing something technically that's far different than an independent user taking their client hardware (in the new analogy's case, the PC) and recording a private copy for viewing.  The monolithic, for-profit nature makes it clear that such attempts are obvious efforts to rob competitors of revenue by exploiting privileges that were intended to protect individual users (not corporations) in a very different scenario.

II. Subscriber Shortfall

Despite its legality concerns, Aereo won some supporters for its strong cross platform support, with apps on Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS (including Apple TV), and Roku.  A beta was in the works for Android.  But at last check it was only supported in a handful of U.S. cities...

•  Atlanta, Geor.
•  Baltimore, Mary.
•  Boston, Mass.
•  Cincinnati, Ohio
•  Dallas and Houston, Tex.
•  Detroit, Mich.
•  Denver, Colo.
•  Miami, Flor.
•  New York City, New York (beta)
•  Chicago, Ill. (beta)
•  Salt Lake City, Utah (beta)
And rates were relatively high -- $1 USD for a one-day pass, or $8 USD/month for 20 hours of manageable DVR service.
AereoAereo offered well made client apps (Android beta app is pictured).

One key challenge facing Aereo was purely an issue of business merit.  Most broadcasters now offer a large part of their TV lineup on Android, iOS, Windows, and OS X for free, albeit on a slight time delay (typically episodes show up a day or two after they first broadcast).  Likewise, if you're at home you can simply watch broadcast digital TV either via a one-time cost (an antenna) or pay for a cable subscription (a monthly cost).
So basically you're $8 USD a month to get your... err your friend's episode of Pretty Little Liars a day earlier -- a rather dubious business proposition for most.  And if you really have to get your content right away and for free, there's numerous sources of streams of popular television channels, which can be watched anywhere for free (albeit illegally so).
The advantage of Aereo was basically that it provided faster access to content, it offered basic DVR services, and it eliminated regional headaches (allow an American living or working overseas to access content from their favorite channels back home at any time).
Aereo seldom released customer/subscriber figures.  Studies from back in Aug. 2012, roughly a year after its launch, revealed it had less than 2,000 paying customers.  

Aereo charged customers steep monthly fees, but it only allowed them to remotely record free broadcast TV.  As of late last year it had less than a million subscribers.

It's done slightly better since then, but its subscriptions remain low.  In Aug. 2013, its founder Chet Kanojia spoke to a group of entrepreneurs at the Startup Grind event in New York City.  He said that "if" Aereo can reach a million customers, it "will" have a "fabulous business".  That future hypothetical seemed to clearly imply that current subscriptions were fewer than 1 million.  It did reveal in Feb. 2014 that in New York -- its top newly added market -- it saw 300,000 subscriptions.  But overall Aereo likely still has fewer than 1 million long-term subscribers.
At the same time, the recent SCOTUS ruling that its restreaming is a clear violation of copyright law has hardly been the beginning of Aereo's legal woes.  From the start, Aereo seemed to acknowledge that its approach -- which critics say was essentially a media mogul (Mr. Diller) borrowing the concept of illegally streamed TV, adding features, and asking people to pay for it under the guise of a legal service -- was of questionable legality. 
At its launch it set aside $3M USD for court cost.
III. Early Surprise Wins Threatened Anarchy in the World of Free Content
It looked briefly as if Aereo might pull off an unlikely victory on the legal front.  At the federal court level Federal Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York concluded that the 2008 SCOTUS Cablevision case proved the legality of cloud-based streaming and DVR services, and hence Aereo's concept -- while unorthodox -- was not illegal.
Aereo's founder, Mr. Kanojia bragged in a press release:
Today’s decision shows that when you are on the right side of the law, you can stand up, fight the Goliath and win.
This remark was rather disingenuous, as it neglects the fact this wasn't David vs. Goliath.  It was Godzilla vs. King Kong.  The battle was between one media industry insider and his fellow major leaguers.  Mr. Diller effectively looked to take his competitors content and resell it, giving them nothing -- a rather bold, and perhaps foolish gambit.  It was very disruptive
Aereo lawsuits
Aereo's tactics resulted in multiple lawsuits, as this Dec. 2013 infographic depicts. [Image Source: DIS CO]

Mr. Kanojia alluded to this in a follow-up interview stating:
With one step, we changed the entire TV industry. The television industry and its evolution are now starting towards the Internet and that was stopped until Aereo came along...And I think as consumers start migrating to the Internet, new programming and new content are going to come in.
Few would disagree that remark.  As analyst Roger Entner of Boston, Mass.-based Recon Analytics LLC would later tell Reuters:
As convenient and as fun as it is for the consumer, [a Supreme Court] decision [in support of Aereo] would have completely changed the business model of Hollywood and of movies and TV.
If what Aereo was doing were legal, it would become perfectly legal for NBC to tape ABC TV shows, news, and other program, and rebroadcast it to customers or sell it to them even.  The converse would also be true.  It wouldn't just be disruption -- it would be massive disruption.
Moreover, while media seemed to take a sympathetic view of Aereo (see headlines such as Reuters "Big broadcasters vanquish upstart Aereo at U.S. Supreme Court" or The Verge's "Aereo loses to broadcasters in Supreme Court fight for its life").  
Such titles are not only misleading, but they also are somewhat hypocritical, in the sense that if it is legal to capture and resell someone's video work, surely it should be legal to do the same with text.  If what Aereo was doing was legal, it stands to reason that you could make clone websites or apps that stole entire articles of content from The Verge or Reuters without fear of prosecution.
IV. The Nuclear Option -- How Aereo Almost Killed Free Broadcast TV
From the start, much of the media has ignored the fact that Aereo itself was a big media firm, from one of the richest men in broadcast television.  And the irony was that while a victory would have been destructive to companies with free broadcast content, it would have been a pyrrhic victory because the broadcasters had the nuclear option -- drop the free and go all cable.
This wasn't a hollow threat.  The market was already trending towards the slow death of free broadcast TV, so a hastening of the switch wouldn't be as drastic as it might sound.  There'd be some financial damage, but if free content were deemed unworthy of copyright protections, the end outcome would be apparent and inevitable.
Chase CareyChase Carey -- COO of News Corp. -- vowed to make Fox cable-only if Aereo one the right to resell its non-cable content. [Image Source: Bloomberg]

Broadcasters appealed the federal court win for Aereo to The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  After the 2nd Circuit ruled to uphold the lower court's decision News Corp.'s (NWS) Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said that if his network lost the inevitable Supreme Court appeal, Fox would likely no longer be offered for free and would be made cable only.  He explained, apologetically:
We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content ... we can't sit idly by and let an entity steal our signal. We will move to a subscription model if that's our only recourse.
Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) and CBS Corp. (CBS) also announced plans to potentially terminate their free channels and go cable only, if the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo's service was legal and not infringing on the content it recorded and rebroadcast without permission or payment.
V. Free to Steal Content Rights if It's Free?
But there's an even greater irony in the internet media's generally sympathetic reaction towards Aereo's business model.  Had its tactics worked, the broadcasters would have sped up the slow death of broadcast television and gone all cable.  Thus, the end result would likely be the same as the current one -- the likely shuttering of Aereo, a loss to its small legion of subscribers.  But had the cable companies won, the immediate loser would likely be advertising supported internet websites.
Had Aereo's tactics been deemed valid, anyone could start a site that reposted full-fledged articles from other sites without payment or permission.  Or if you wanted to get into semantics, you could encourage users to repost such content so that -- like Aereo -- you could shift the blame to them.  Such a precedent of holding an open season on republishing content offered for free would have been modestly destructive to the television industry, but it would be almost a killer for the internet industry as we know it.
That's the irony.  A loss for Aereo before the SCOTUS was really a virtual non-event, as streaming content you don't own for profit has long been illegal for everyday pirates.  If the decision holds any pivotal significance it's in upholding the need for copyright law and declining to cast the market -- or at least market of freely offered content into anarchy.
The Verge writes:
The ruling is one of the most important seen by the television industry since the 1984 Betamax case but in many ways will have an opposite effect, stifling one area of innovation that was beginning to force the industry out of its comfort zone. Some broadcasters had even said that they would open their own Aereo competitors if the service were found to be legal. Instead, this ruling fully removes Aereo and copycat services as a threat.
The latter half is apt, but the former half is pure hyperbole.  There have been many cases by the SCOTUS since the Betamax ruling which have done exactly what this one did -- outlaw the resale of copied content without permission of the content creator, even if that content was offered for free.
This isn't even remotely close to the Betamax case.  It's not forbidding you from copying and recording content for personal use -- even in the cloud.  Otherwise TiVo and its restreaming technology would be panicking.  Rather, it's about that you don't have permission to copy the content someone else gave you for free, then turn around and sell that copy to someone else.
VI. SCOTUS: Sorry, But No
Aereo was absolutely disruptive, but it wasn't just the internet versus big media.  It was more of a battle between content anarchist and those who believe in some level of content protection, even over free content (as Mr. Diller's firm was unwilling to pay the content providers any content of the subscription fees he charged).  And the anarchist lost.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court concluded (with Justice Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito dissenting) that what Aereo was doing was illegal, vacating the lower district and circuit court decisions.
Justice Stephen Breyer writing the majority opinion commented:
Insofar as there are differences, those differences concern not the nature of the service that Aereo provides so much as the technological manner in which it provides the service.  We conclude that those differences are not adequate to place Aereo’s activities outside the scope of the [Copyright] Act.
Aereo ruling
Justice Breyer speaks for the majority, delivering his ruling. [Image Source: Art Lien]

Justice Scalia likened the service to a "copy shop that provides its patrons with a library card" in a dissent, which conjures up the image of a public library.  The only problem with that analogy is that a public library is free.  It doesn't charge you a $1 USD/day fee or an $8 USD/month fee -- at least not directly.
Moreover access is limited as only one patron can have a physical copy at a time.  By contrast Aereo's technology is closer to a mass rebroadcast as an unlimited number of customers could add the content to their DVRs after one user requested it to be recorded and Aereo's DVR hardware recorded it on the back end.
VII. Some Cheer, Others Weep
Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, who triumphed in the SCOTUS ruling, remarked to CNBC:
Aereo characterized our lawsuit as an attack on innovation; that claim is demonstrably false.  Today's decision sends an unmistakable message that businesses built on the theft of copyrighted material will not be tolerated.
Former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Reed Hundt added:
[This is] a really, really big win for broadcasters.  Aereo has very little chance surviving in the business and Barry Diller got his hands caught in the regulatory cookie jar.  You can't use technological tricks to bypass [cable network] rules and regulations. I think that's a very reasonable decision.
Chet Kanojia released a very bitter and angry statement at the outcome that he called a "massive setback for the American consumer."  He wrote:
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. This sends a chilling message to the technology industry.  We are disappointed in the outcome, but our work is not done. We will continue to fight for our consumers and fight to create innovative technologies that have a meaningful and positive impact on our world.
At this point Aereo either must get permission (licenses) to rebroadcast from the content providers whose channels it records, or simply close its doors.  BTIG LLC analyst Rich Greenfield concludes:
It seems like there's a little bit of opening up [in the ruling] of what could happen to new technologies, but this is going to need a much more detailed read to find out those implications.  I think the immediate implication for Aereo is, is there going to be a way for them to get compulsory licenses to survive, or do they simply disappear?
Barry Diller
Billionaire former TV executive Barry Diller's critics say he "got caught with his hand in the cookie jar" with Aereo. [Image Source: Sun Productions]

But the optimistic tone was absent in the commentary from his firm's financier, Mr. Diller.  By the sound of it Aereo is dead, based on what Mr. Diller had to say.  In a comment to the press, he said that there was "[no] plan B" for the service.  He commented:
We did try, but it's over now.  It's not a big [financial] loss for us, but I do believe blocking this technology is a big loss for consumers, and beyond that I only salute Chet Kanojia and his band of Aereo'lers for fighting the good fight.
That hardly sounds like the commentary you'd expect if Aereo was looking to survive via licensing.  The message seems to be that if Aereo has to pay for the content it's taking from others and reselling, it wants out.
VIII. The Internet Dodges a Bullet, Complains That it Wanted to be Hit
The coverage from the media has been sharply divided.  Media owned by large corporate entities whose content Aereo was infringing on (e.g. CNBC) took an understandably critical tone of Aereo.  But what was more interesting to see was the highly sympathetic tone towards Aereo in some press outlets that did not have video holdings tied to the case.
The irony is while these reactions, subtly, or not-so-subtly implied that the Supreme Court was suppress "the cloud", technological progress, and or freedom in general, in reality those griping arguably just dodged a bullet.  Had Aereo's model been found legal, replicating virtually any free web content and republishing it to the world would be legal.  That would be catastrophic to the internet.
Grumble as the media may, in protecting high quality free content, the consumers are arguably the true winners in today's SCOTUS decision.
The Verge
Ironically, The Verge's critical piece on the decision has a copyright notice demanding the same kinds of protections on its free content that it's criticizing TV broadcasters for protecting.

The outcome is the expected and fortunate one.  If anything the observers in "independent media" should be exhaling a sigh of relief -- for now, SCOTUS has upheld that someone cannot take your free content without permission and rebroadcast (and resell) it to others.
If, however, you think free content should not be protected and controlled by its owner, put your (advertising) money where your mouth is.  Publish a notice on your website that you can copy any article without permission.  See what happens.  Otherwise, members of the media, you might be wise to recognize the obvious -- the decision, quite possibly saved your jobs.

Sources: SCOTUS Blog, CNBC, Reuters, The Verge

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Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/25/2014 7:05:55 PM , Rating: 5
On the same day, I see SCOTUS do this - a blatantly anti-consumer, pro-corporatist action...and also make a ruling requiring warrants for police cell phone searches...a perfectly rational ruling. It's like they're bi-polar.

While the cell phone decision was unanimous, at least the Aereo case was a split decision, with only 1 vote breaking what would have been a tie. So maybe not *all* of the justices are abject morons and/or being bought off by corporate lobbyists.

But seriously, for this article to imply...even slightly...that SCOTUS made the "right" decision is shameful. Indefensible. SMH.

Aereo had individual antennas for each user. In their own broadcast area...getting only OTA signals the user would get anyway. They then recorded those signals, as the user could on their own if they paid instead for a DVR. They then *narrowcast* (not "broadcast" - big, hugely important difference) the recorded content to an individual user. Just like a DVR. The only functional difference to a traditional DVR would be that the user could potentially access their recorded content while someplace other than home. Which, incidentally, is something you can set up yourself at home with a PC and a TV tuner card anyway.

The networks are morons for even fighting it. It was in their best interests to let Aereo fly. It cost them nothing. And it lost them nothing. It gained them additional viewers above and beyond what they'd normally from people without DVRs, or PC streambox setups at home. The netwoks still get all the advertising money...and if they'd had brains in their heads, they could have gotten viewership numbers from Aereo too, which would be a net positive addition to their own viewership numbers...increasing the value of their programming, in turn possibly allowing them to charge more for advertising.

There was 0 downside to the networks here. None. Every aspect was upside. And yet they had to kill it anyway, because they are morons and a$sholes. And they convinced SCOTUS to do their dirty work for them...since at least 51% of the justices are apparently either wildly incompetant to be presiding over really basic technology decisions, or because they're actively in the pockets of the corporate lobbyists. No other explanation is even vaguely tenable...because it's 100% perfectly clear that not only was Aereo *not* breaking any laws, but they were actually INCREASING the viewership for the networks...without them having to spend a single dime.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Reflex on 6/25/2014 7:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
Or, you know, they could just pay the rebroadcast fees that cable providers pay and continue as they were. I know that's not convenient for them, but its the same playing field every other competitor is on. Why they believe they should be the exception is beyond me.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/25/2014 7:15:11 PM , Rating: 3
Cable providers make money on advertising on the network stuff they pump through their pipes.

Aereo didn't.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Reflex on 6/25/2014 9:46:12 PM , Rating: 5
Perhaps Aereo should consider adjusting their business model or negotiating a deal that includes a fee for carrying broadcasters advertising.

The law does not exist to protect someone's chosen business plan. If they choose a faulty one, that is their problem.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By DiscoWade on 6/26/2014 7:24:08 AM , Rating: 4
Here is a question: Why should there be a fee to rebroadcast if the network is showing commercials?

This is network greed, period. And the networks get more and more greedy as time goes on. 10 years ago the start of the next show did not start until the credit for the old show ended. At worst you had a promo for another show. Now networks do this so they can pump in more commercials. Then you have promos for other shows during a show you are watching. They are greedy. The law should be simple: you can charge a fee to rebroadcast or you can show commercials but never both. Such greedy behavior is indefensible, just like the internet provider's idea of charging Netflix and other similar businesses so customers are not throttled.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Solandri on 6/26/14, Rating: 0
RE: Crock of sh1t
By jdre on 6/26/2014 10:15:08 AM , Rating: 3
I hear what you're saying, but again, this wasn't a rebroadcast.

This was a signal that was sent over the air, the same thing I could get with an antenna on my roof. But instead of buying a roof antenna, I lease the antenna from a company, and they send me, and only me, my content.

I think half of our geriatric SCOTUS didn't understand thing one about this tech, and sided with what they were told by industry was best.

I STILL haven't heard a compelling argument for the disposition - but I have heard a lot of confused, contradictory, and back-and-forth quotes from the justices, suggesting they didn't really comprehend the issue at hand.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 10:20:39 AM , Rating: 3
There is no valid argument against Aereo. That's the problem.

And they weren't re-broadcasting. People using that term fundamentally don't understand what it means. Aereo was narrowcasting recorded shows directly to an individual user on-demand.


RE: Crock of sh1t
By Solandri on 6/26/2014 11:10:44 AM , Rating: 3
It wasn't re-broadcasting in the technical sense (multicasting - one to many). But re-broadcasting isn't even the issue. The relevant copyright terminology in this case is public performance.

What I get from the decision is that the SCotUS decided that the technological nuances didn't really matter. If you're grabbing OTA signals and sending them to multiple people, you're conducting a public performance. Just like a sports bar which shows the World Cup live on their big-screen TV (yes they have to pay a license fee to the networks).

I am curious though if Aereo would've won if they'd sold the antennas to their customers instead of dynamically allocating them and charging a subscription fee to use them. If they'd been sold, then it'd be the person's own antenna picking up the OTA signal, with Aereo only providing the Internet connection for those signals to get to the owner's computer. That would be analogous to the guy whose house is on top of the hill allowing all his neighbors down the hill to set up antennas on his property so they can pick up OTA signals blocked by the hill.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By jdre on 6/26/2014 11:29:37 AM , Rating: 2
"If you're grabbing OTA signals and sending them to multiple people, you're conducting a public performance."

But see, you're not. It's 1 antenna to 1 person.

Renting or buying the antenna shouldn't be the issue. Is it illegal for me to rent a rooftop antenna from Rent-A-Center, and plug it into my tv, or a tv tuner card from a rented PC to record it for my own viewing?

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 11:42:32 AM , Rating: 2
If you're grabbing OTA signals and sending them to multiple people, you're conducting a public performance.

That's not what they're doing. Each individual user would watch an individual distribution of recorded shows on-demand, to themselves.


DVR. VCR. Aereo. None of these things is not like the other.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By aliasfox on 6/26/2014 12:18:46 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe their view was more akin to sharing cable - in which sense, you have an antenna on your roof, but you let the guy next door plug the antenna into his TV when you're not home.

I don't think there should be a legal reason to stop people from buying their own antenna going forward. It would be like me setting up a Slingbox, right?

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 12:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe their view was more akin to sharing cable

Maybe it was. The only problem being that that "view" is 100% invalid...because it's nothing like sharing cable. At all.

You can buy an antenna...what difference does it make where it's instaled? You can buy a DVR...what difference does it make where it's installed?

There's not really anything special happening here. It's a remote DVR service. And yes, it's basically like you setting up a Slingbox. Which is legal...unless you put your Slingbox someplace other than your home, apparently.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Freakie on 6/26/14, Rating: 0
RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 9:16:27 AM , Rating: 2
Their business plan wasn't faulty, and they weren't breaking the law. This is just SCOTUS failing to function properly. Again.

Anyone who claims otherwise lacks basic cognitive abilities. It's black and white.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By fic2 on 6/25/2014 7:44:36 PM , Rating: 2
Because of this ruling I would like to see congress start charging the OTA providers a fee for using our airwaves.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Reflex on 6/25/2014 9:46:49 PM , Rating: 2
They actually do. Spectrum is sold at auction, and it can go for billions depending on the spectrum in question.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By fic2 on 6/26/2014 5:14:46 PM , Rating: 2
Except the tv/radio guys are grandfathered in and didn't/don't pay anything.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By marvdmartian on 6/26/2014 7:34:40 AM , Rating: 3
This just showcases the tangled, garbled mess that is copyright law in this country (and many others). Law that has come about mostly because of the entertainment industry's political contributions to the wonks in DC, who write and pass these laws.

Take, for instance, this part of the article:
Under U.S. copyright law and court precedent, if you share recordings with your friends , show a recording to a large enough group of people, or rebroadcast (e.g. stream video to others) recordings, you've committed a copyright crime.

When I read that part, the DVR's that the cable companies happily lease to their customers immediately came to mind. Does anyone seriously think that not one person who has a DVR is recording shows (like sports), then watching it later, with their friends?? If they do, I've got some nice ocean front property in Arizona that I'd like to sell them!

Aereo's biggest problem is that they sold the copyrighted material, without paying a fee to the originators.....and they should have known better than to think they could get away with it. Every other source of entertainment (cable, satellite, HULU or Netflix, etc.) out there has paid, there was no earthly reason to believe the TV stations wouldn't go after them for NOT paying.

Was the decision right? I don't know enough about it to render a definitive answer.....but I lean toward saying no.

Was it to be expected? Yes. And until such time as we can limit political contributions from other than individual voters, we can continue to expect draconian laws that favor the big contributors, the corporations.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 9:22:41 AM , Rating: 1
Aereo's biggest problem is that they sold the copyrighted material, without paying a fee to the originators.

Nope. That is 100% NOT what they did. Which is why Aereo won every court case until SCOTUS fell off the wagon.

They sold a DVR service. Period. If DVRs and VCR et al are legal, then Aereo is legal.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Solandri on 6/26/2014 11:01:12 AM , Rating: 2
They sold a DVR service. Period. If DVRs and VCR et al are legal, then Aereo is legal.

The language the SCotUS used in the ruling specifically exempted devices which could time-shift - e.g. DVRs and VCRs. That is, they were careful to distinguish between "contemporaneously perceptible" services like Aereo (watch in real-time) and devices which are predominantly used to time-shift like DVRs.

They didn't rule on DVRs specifically (presumably the old Betamax decision still stands). But it does mean that an Aereo-like service which really did act like a DVR (i.e. you select shows in your broadcast area to record and they let you view them online at a later time) would require a new case.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 11:12:30 AM , Rating: 2
You can watch a show in realtime on your DVR as well. Like...while it's recording.

This also ignores the fact that watching the programming in realtime is simply what one does when making use of an antenna. Like the one each Aereo user had.

There's not a distinction being made there. Maybe SCOTUS thinks they're making a distinction...but they're not.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By jdre on 6/26/2014 11:33:10 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. I don't follow what the SCOTUS thinks it said there, or at least how it applies in the slightest.

I don't have a dog in this race, by the way. I'm just intrigued by the seeming lack of internal consistency in the logic.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By bill.rookard on 6/26/2014 11:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Heck, even Netflix is having to pay TWICE. Once for the content, and again to get some sort of decent prioritization on their traffic links.

Don't get me started on that second payment, it really gets my goat.

In any event, for those who are complaining about how it's a DVR system which is legal under the Cablevision ruling, it's not. In a DVR situation, each individual records their own shows, on their own space, at their own home. If two people record it, there are two distinct recordings, in two separate locations. In this case (according to the article), Aereo records everything, then streams it when people ask for it. It's a fundamental difference in actions, and while it is a DVR in some aspects (as in the shows are recorded for later viewing), because there is only one master copy which is being served out to multiple people, THAT is what qualifies it as a rebroadcast.

Now, if they gave each user their own antenna, their own storage space, and the user had their own individual copies of the shows that THEY had decided to record or even stream live as it was aired, then at that point it would hew more closely to a traditional DVR/remote antenna. The problem with that though becomes storage requirements. Going from 1,000 people to 1,000,000 subscribers creates a huge swing in just raw storage requirements.

Storing 20 hours of HD recording for 1,000 people? Assuming Mpeg2 5mbit rate - 40+GB per person, or 40TB. That's doable even for myself to manage. Set up their spaces, Get some 12 disk raid servers stuffed with 4TB drives, and I could have that done for a few thousand dollars.

Scaling that to 1,000,000 people though puts it in an entirely different class of storage, and at that point it would probably not be profitable. You'd be looking at (get this!) 40PB of storage. Hence, why they did the record once, broadcast many - which is not DVR, it's rebroadcasting, and thus why SCOTUS ruled against them.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By jdre on 6/26/2014 11:39:08 AM , Rating: 1
Okay - this aspect might make sense finally. Thank you.

BUT - smaller, local companies could manage the storage, in a partitioned array like you mention... or just charge more, in theory? And in ten years time, say, if storage becomes more affordable and can be done in a 1-to-1 manner, apparently this would be legal?

I'm mostly upset with the original article author grandstanding and soapboxing about copyright and content theft and all manner of bullshit, when it's as simple as the storage not being 1-to-1, and that classifying it as a "rebroadcast" (i.e., many antennas - one stored program - many viewers) is the only issue.

And then for that matter - would the DVR-less, streaming option still be legal?

RE: Crock of sh1t
By kamk44 on 6/26/2014 12:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
I would think the answer to your last question is yes. You still have a DVR, just not at your house. Instead it is at a company somewhere. You pay for the connection to the DVR provider, storage and use of the software. The program you DVR'd is your personal copy only to be sent to your registered viewing devices.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By jdre on 6/26/2014 3:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the reply and helping me understand.

So, presumably, if in a few years, there is an affordable storage solution permitting 1-to-1 "DVR" recording - they could be back, fully legal?

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 11:40:25 AM , Rating: 2
You fundamentally don't understand what the term "broadcast" means.

Aereo didn't rebroadcast. They narrowcast.

The functionality is the same as a DVR or VCR. Ergo, if DVRs and VCRs are legal, then Aereo is legal.


RE: Crock of sh1t
By jdre on 6/26/2014 11:53:03 AM , Rating: 2
What I'm gathering is that since the recording wasn't done 1-to-1, individually per antenna and viewer, but sort of a bottleneck of communal storage - that qualified it as "rebroadcasting" one stored recording back to the many viewers.

That's what he was getting at with it being no longer profitable to store individually for, say, a million viewers. If it was 1 unique antenna -to- 1 unique storage solution -to- 1 viewer, apparently that might be fine. But as of today, its 1 unique antenna -to- 1 SHARED storage solution -to- 1 unique viewer.

So in those last two steps, you've got one hard drive "broadcasting" to many unique viewers... not stovepiped end-to-end.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 11:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
So in those last two steps, you've got one hard drive "broadcasting" to many unique viewers... not stovepiped end-to-end.

Except it categorically is not broadcasting. And it's not a public performance...and there's no possible way in any possible universe to declare that it is.

Each individual user gets to request playback of any recorded content on-demand at any time...and they get their own, dedicated stream of that recorded content. Just to them. Narrowcast. Private showing.

Not broadcast. Not in any possible definition of the word.

Not public showing. Not in any possible definition of the phrase.

Narrowcast. Private showing.


RE: Crock of sh1t
By kamk44 on 6/26/2014 12:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
In the end the basic point is that you cannot aggregate copyrighted content even if it is sent out free from the original provider and then charge others to view it. You have a right to make a personal copy for personal non-profit viewing. These were not personal copies but a content aggregation and redistribution business. If a company provides a pure remote DVR service than that is another matter.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By jdre on 6/26/2014 3:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
So without the "aggregation" step of recording to one storage device - the antenna and sending antenna signal to you over the internet is legal, right? And presumably, if the storage wasn't one device, but unique per-user devices (as are the antennae), that would be legal as well?

I'm just trying to cut through the article's political rant and see what the actual sticking point was.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 11:14:26 PM , Rating: 2
This is a "pure remote DVR service."

There is no difference in how it functions to the end user. Or to the networks, for that matter.

You have no argument.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By ritualm on 6/28/2014 5:25:17 AM , Rating: 2
Aereo didn't rebroadcast. They narrowcast.

The functionality is the same as a DVR or VCR. Ergo, if DVRs and VCRs are legal, then Aereo is legal.

Your entire argument is bollocks.

Aereo records ONE copy of content. Then it sends that copy to MORE THAN ONE user. That is not how DVRs operate.

The kicker, however, is Aereo does not pay the original owners of that content any money as compensation for reselling it.

Aereo is not a DVR service. It's a for-profit rebroadcast leecher - which, by the way, is far worse than anything The Pirate Bay has been doing since its inception. Whatever technology infrastructure it runs on honestly does not matter. Its business idea is "I can take anything you provide for free, resell it to others without your permission, and make money - without paying you anything at all - in the process".

Why should anyone bother providing content for free, knowing some bastardized grand thief is going to tape all of that and rebroadcast to others? Worst of all, the folks providing that content in the first place are not being compensated at all.

Aereo is not a DVR service. Period.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 11:57:24 AM , Rating: 2
You have made no argument at all.

The fact that Aereo only stores one copy of the show is irrelevant. It's a DVR service. It behaves *exactly* as a DVR, both to the consumer and the networks. It does nothing that a DVR doesn't do. It simply does it remotely.

Everything you have said is at best a horrible fascist misrepresentation of the facts. And at worst, a bag of lies. It is 100% indisputable that Aereo was a remote DVR service, and that is all that there is to it. You can scream and point your fingers at irrelevancies all you want. But that's what it was. DVR.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By dervari on 7/7/2014 8:40:00 AM , Rating: 2
Aereo records ONE copy of content. Then it sends that copy to MORE THAN ONE user. That is not how DVRs operate.

And the author of the article knows this how? Did they do behind the scenes and reverse engineer the software and hardware?

Aereos FAQ stated that each subscriber had their own drive partition. This is very technologically feasible and in my guess is truly how they set it up to get around the "public distribution" rules.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Dr of crap on 6/26/2014 12:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
I have to disagree. Aereo was not selling the content. What they were selling was the ability to record OTA broadcasts.
The content was received and then sent to you in real time. If I chose to watch, The Good Wife, it was in real time and I didn't pay for that, but if I was busy at that time I could set up a recording of the show, and that DVR service is what I was paying for.

Aereo didn't even sell you the Roku, or what ever box you used to interface with their web service. It was the DVR ability that was the big selling point of Aereo. Not unlike the boxes you have to rent from your cable/satellite provider.

I quit Dish, got a Tivo and am happy with it. Just wish I could get my recordings on ANY TV in the house, and not just the one that the Tivo is hooked to. AND how is this any different than what Aereo was offering????

RE: Crock of sh1t
By kamk44 on 6/26/2014 1:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
What they were selling was the ability to record OTA broadcasts.

This doesn't hold up since it was not a single recording for each person. One recording was made and then sent out to multiple people. A true DVR service should be legal but that is not what Aereo was doing on their end. Aereo was a content aggregator more like Netflix.

RE: Crock of sh1t
By dervari on 7/7/2014 8:41:19 AM , Rating: 2
This doesn't hold up since it was not a single recording for each person.

Yes, it was

RE: Crock of sh1t
By Moishe on 6/27/2014 1:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it would come down the question of whether or not I can pay someone to DVR a show for me.

Can I give my uncle $1 to DVR something for me and watch it later? What if my uncle has 10, 50, 100, 1000 customers?

This is clearly not a re-broadcast because by definition a broadcast is widely and publicly available without cost.

While the copyright holder does need compensation, they actually are already compensated by the commercials and initial purchase. If the content is not altered before being pushed to the user, then the commercials are more widely viewed and the copyright holder's compensation actually increases.

The service doesn't charge for the content, just for the accessibility. It doesn't alter the content.

I don't see the issue with this business model.

Disagree with this
By geekfool on 6/25/2014 8:51:20 PM , Rating: 3
I disagree with the OP (Jason Mick) and the judges on this one. Unless the company was creating a catalogue and trying to pawn themselves off as netflix, they were just virtualizing a physical VCR.

I think the OP is biased because he's in journalism and is afraid this ruling would allow others to steal his work (the NYT example, which is wrong). A user would have to choose what station to record/watch and what times. How is this different from what I can do with my home VCR/TIVo? Only difference I see is this is "virtual" and the storage is in the cloud.

Why is it when it comes to copyright, you need physical copies of the hardware to record and obtain the antenna signal for each user? This is a bogus ruling and I hope the company expands to other countries.

The definition of broadcasting has been grossly twisted here. A 1:1 transfer is NOT a broadcast.

RE: Disagree with this
By JasonMick on 6/25/2014 9:41:11 PM , Rating: 1
(the NYT example, which is wrong).
Elaborate, please. In my example I explicitly state that a similar loophole could be claimed by an antagonist giving users dedicated subscription readership packages and then making individual copies of each piece for them via text scraping.

That's nearly an exact analogy of Aereo's strategy (and claim to legality) here.

Where did I err?
How is this different from what I can do with my... VCR/TIVo? Only difference I see is this is "virtual" and the storage is in the cloud.
Because you're not paying for storage.

Storage is almost always free.

Microsoft offers 15 GB for free.

Google offers 15 GB for free.

For $1.99 from Google you get 100 GB; $9.99 gets you a full TB. By those numbers Aereo's "cloud storage" solution is at least a 20x markup.

So why are you paying 20 times more?

Simple, Aereo a slick set of tools to offer you others copyrighted content. The problem isn't the copying. It's that Aereo is very much, in principle charging you for content that it doesn't own.

Just because that content is available for free doesn't make it valid for Aereo to stoop to a ridiculously contrived and inefficient exploit of a technicality of the law.

While I know corporations are "people" in the U.S., but even by that standard, this is a case of one wealthy "person" (Aereo/InterActivCorp) appropriating the work of other "people" (rival media companies) for its profit.

You simply can not argue that.

And once you realize that, it becomes apparent that from a practical standpoint, at least, CONSUMER content protections against non-commercial monetary use should not apply here.

I'm a very very strong proponent of the legality of backup copies, fair use, and other forms of moderate reuse -- even commercial reuse.

I let people quote my work relatively liberally in many cases.

However, wholesale unauthorized acquisition, bundling, and resale of any content producer's work clearly is antithetical to the spirit of free enterprise and a free market as it's basically fraud and theft rolled into one.

RE: Disagree with this
By tat tvam asi on 6/25/2014 11:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
So, if someone (say Google or Microsoft or Yahoo) buys Aero and bundles it as a free add-on to their existing subscribers, the jury has no problem? Then Aero won't be accused of making money out of the broadcasters' free content.

RE: Disagree with this
By Monkey's Uncle on 6/26/2014 6:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
You are missing the points:

1. You may record ota/free broadcasts for your own personal viewing without permission.

2. You may not record ota/free broadcasts for other people to see without permission.

It is that permission that is the sticking part. If you want to record shows and rebroadcast to others, you have to pay the content owners their royalties to get that permission.

Cable and satellite companies have to pay for this permission for that very reason. Aereo is no different than a cable or satellite company in this regard. Cable companies retransmit via dedicated wires, satellites retransmit via radio waves (same as free TV) and Aereo retransmits over the Internet. Why should the first two have to pay to do this and Aereo not have to pay?

RE: Disagree with this
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 9:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
You're wrong. Aereo operated basically as a remote DVR. Period. Which is why other preceding court cases were found in Aereo's favor.

If a DVR/VCR is legal, then Aereo is legal. And they weren't "rebroadcasting" anything. They were narrowcasting an individual's recordings on-demand to that individual user. Exactly like a DVR.

Almost half of the justices got it right. Unfortunately, the other more-than-half are either morons, and/or in the pockets of the corporations.

RE: Disagree with this
By ritualm on 6/29/2014 3:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
Both your and jdre's positions are faulty.
Aereo operated basically as a remote DVR.

Yep, one remote DVR for more than one user at a time. A DVR stores and playbacks content for ONE user at any time. Aereo's scheme is one DVR to store and playback content for thousands of users.

That's not narrowcasting or some other form of technological jivetalk, that is rebroadcasting.

DVR is legal for personal use. Aereo's is a commercial , for-profit "DVR" service for thousands of users. That makes it more akin to Akamai than Roku. Except all of these comes with a twist: no royalties are ever paid back to the content holders.

That is not a DVR, that is not narrowcasting, that is worse than the Pirate Bay. Both of you are morons.

RE: Disagree with this
By Motoman on 6/29/2014 9:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
That's not narrowcasting or some other form of technological jivetalk, that is rebroadcasting.

That is you displaying your fundamental lack of understanding of what the term "broacasting" is.

Aereo sends ONE stream of a recorded show to ONE customer.

Narrowcast. Irrefutably.

You and all people like you are catastrophic morons for not seeing the fundamental abuse of the law and the consumer in this case. There is positively no way to catagorize Aereo as anything other than a remote DVR service. It's functionality to the user, and to the networks, is DVR. Period. End of story.

And none of your mental masturb@tion is going to change that.

RE: Disagree with this
By dervari on 7/7/2014 8:44:56 AM , Rating: 2
A DVR stores and playbacks content for ONE user at any time. Aereo's scheme is one DVR to store and playback content for thousands of users.

Each user had their own virtual DVR with their own partition for storage . Ergo, your position is the faulty one.

RE: Disagree with this
By jdre on 6/26/2014 9:30:32 AM , Rating: 2
I would argue that they aren't broadcasting it for others to see. They're sending an individual their personal recordings for that individual to see.

RE: Disagree with this
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 10:22:25 AM , Rating: 2
That's the difference between "broadcasting" and "narrowcasting."

Aereo didn't broadcast. They narrowcast.

There's no actual difference between what Aereo did and what a DVR does. Hence, if DVRs and VCRs are legal, then Aereo is legal.

SCOTUS fail.

RE: Disagree with this
By jdre on 6/26/2014 11:26:23 AM , Rating: 3
The NYT example is wrong because:

The NYT isn't broadcast free over the air.

Your analogy would be more correct if someone took the free Washington Post Express, copied it, and redistributed it in its entirety, giving credit to the Post.

If I picked up the Express on the corner (analogous to renting the antenna) scanned it and emailed it to me, and only me, (analogous to getting that OTA content sent to just me over the web) - that wouldn't be illegal.

RE: Disagree with this
By Dr of crap on 6/26/2014 12:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
You should have wrote the piece WITHOUT bias. Yes, you don't approve of their business, but you sure spelled it out many times how they were wrong.

Just report what happened without telling us how bad they are.

So aereo would be legal if...
By Philippine Mango on 6/26/2014 3:26:10 AM , Rating: 2
Aereo would be legal if they just streamed the live broadcast in real time? Then you have any computer in your house from which this broadcast is recorded to? How exactly would the SCOTUS expect them to rework their model until it was legal. This talk about not compensating the copyright holders is complete bunk considering that they put their content over the air anyway thanks to advertising.

RE: So aereo would be legal if...
By jdre on 6/26/2014 8:10:36 AM , Rating: 1
This is my EXACT question.

Rebroadcasting fees and all that don't appear to be the crux of the issue. Apparently, it's just because they recorded it.

From what I'm reading, apparently, the antennae and single-casting of the signal to a single user would be legal, according to this article and others I've read.

The sticking point seems to be that it was recorded and "rebroadcast", which I also find specious, but apparently that's the ruling.

All of this bullshit about morality and fees and bandwidth and yada yada yada is apparently moot if they just stream it live - according to this absolutely unbiased article.

RE: So aereo would be legal if...
By jdre on 6/26/2014 8:18:32 AM , Rating: 2
Or for that matter, if the storage solution got to a price point cheap enough that they could lease you the dime-sized antenna AND your OWN dedicated "DVR", would that be legal?

Part of the article seems to suggest that the issue was that the storage was not 1-to-1, but shared (again, I fail to see the logic, exactly, but whatever).

So if they found (or if in 2018 there exists) storage cheap enough to record individually per user, maybe charging $11 a month instead of $8, apparently that would be legal?

And the "copyright" and "rebroadcasting" issue seems moot. Firstly, because these are free OTA signals, and secondly, because they rent you the hardware - they aren't selling the content. If I bought a roof antenna and a DVR, and paid or it in installments, or rented them from Rent-A-Center, it would be the same thing.

RE: So aereo would be legal if...
By SteelRing on 6/26/2014 11:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
it would be legally unchallengeable if Aereo does not charge for the service, they would merely be expanding access to publicly available broadcast to larger audience, something that I wouldn't imagine the broadcasters could have any issue with other than not having controls over region-specific content.

Aereo should be better off just trying to sell those dime-sized antenna as a dongle for my cell phone/tablet/PC, that is if that antenna actually works and not just a gimmick for the court case defense. I would then pay for the cloud service/apps to store/manage my recording that would have to be sourced from my own device. This would be a much better business model to survive this challenge.

RE: So aereo would be legal if...
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 11:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
People already pay for antennas. Or DVRs and VCRs.

What difference does it make if the antenna and/or DVR is remote? The functionality is the same.

What difference does it make if you buy, rent, or lease the use of the antenna and/or DVR? The functionality is the same.

I can pay Dish to put an antenna (nee dish) on my roof, and I can pay them for a DVR, and I can even watch my DVRd content remotely, away from the home (granted the correct Dish package). All exactly like Aereo.

Not to mention that you can do the same thing with a PC and a TV tuner card...for free.

Somehow, magically, placing the antenna and/or DVR remotely itself though makes it illegal. SCOTUS fail.

RE: So aereo would be legal if...
By jdre on 6/26/2014 11:58:03 AM , Rating: 2
Why, exactly, is renting the equipment illegal, but selling it, you're saying, is legal?

I don't follow that logic.

RE: So aereo would be legal if...
By SteelRing on 6/26/2014 1:13:42 PM , Rating: 1
Because "renting", and in this case of Aereo also done "remotely", is bypassing the acceptable mechanism of public transmission, which is via OPEN AIR. Do mind that while you are born AFTER the Internet exists, an entirely different world did exist before you were farted out of your mama's hole. The whole broadcasting system, the laws and all the compensation mechanisms that go with it, no matter how unfair it seems today, were agreed upon by all parties and predates the technology and just because you can argue for the benefit of today's technology the whole economics of the system must be allowed to evolve and not just be destroyed overnight simply because you feel like it's the right thing at this moment.

Let's say you win your argument sake and Aereo is allowed to flourish. All the broadcasts network simply pull the plug on the open air as they threatened, move into Hulu-style model and your Aereo subscription immediately became useless anyway. Aereo simply seems like a brilliant idea until it's not.

RE: So aereo would be legal if...
By Motoman on 6/26/2014 11:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
Let's say you win your argument sake and Aereo is allowed to flourish. All the broadcasts network simply pull the plug on the open air as they threatened, move into Hulu-style model and your Aereo subscription immediately became useless anyway.

It's amazing that the industry was stupid enough to puke those words out of their mouths. And even more unbelievable that there's morons in this world that believe it.

Aereo was a win for the networks. In every way. Every. Way. It *increased* their viewership. It *increased* the value of their programming to advertisers. It *cost them nothing*.

Aereo was the greatest thing to happen to OTA networks since the invention of the television.

By Vytautas on 6/26/2014 12:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
As someone else has posted before, leaving Aero be was in their own interest for the broadcast companies. More viewers than they would have otherwise, meaning more revenue from advertising.

Look, I have been using such (much better, actually) services in my own country in Europe (actually all over the world, as it´s accesible by internet). They record every programm from every publicly broadcast tv channel and create a repository with the last two months of programming a subscriber can watch whenever it him/her. The fee for such a service is about 15 dollars a month for something like 20-30 channels, or just 4 dollars for a minimum of 2 channels (you can also buy the service weekly, monthly, or in three months packages. If you buy a recurring subscription (meaning not just one separate month, but allow the company to deduce the ammount automatically after finishing the current subscription you get some other discounts.

Yes, I think they went up to the broadcast companies first and got permission. And they don´t allow users inside the country the programming is from (you have to be outside the country) access. It´s sold as a service for emigrants and people who travel frequently and still want to be able to watch their favourite programms away from home. But you can always watch it via a proxy server if you really wish for it.

By Vytautas on 6/26/2014 12:21:18 AM , Rating: 2
Damn, no edit button :). I hope you won’t chew me up much for the "roughness" of the text.

By Reflex on 6/26/2014 1:26:17 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I think they went up to the broadcast companies first and got permission. And they don´t allow users inside the country the programming is from (you have to be outside the country) access. It´s sold as a service for emigrants and people who travel frequently and still want to be able to watch their favourite programms away from home.

But this is the crux of it. Aereo did NOT get permission. They actually can do this, but they have to pay the same retransmission fees that cable companies, and likely the companies you speak of in the EU pay to retransmit to their subscribers. The SCOTUS did not say that the service is in any way illegal, only that they could not use the content without permission since it is under copyright.

My bet is that there will be a legal and compliant alternative in the very near future, provided that Aereo actually has hit on a market that is of sufficient size.

By jdre on 6/26/2014 8:21:21 AM , Rating: 2
Some of the issue was trouble with local advertisements.

If I live in Oklahoma, and I rent an antenna getting OTA ads of NYC area local businesses, those ads aren't reaching the right audience.

And we can't have that, clearly.

By dervari on 7/7/2014 8:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
Some of the issue was trouble with local advertisements. If I live in Oklahoma, and I rent an antenna getting OTA ads of NYC area local businesses, those ads aren't reaching the right audience.

Aereo only did LiL. You could only subscribe if your billing zip code is within the OTA market you try to subscribe to.

By taisingera on 6/25/2014 10:26:34 PM , Rating: 4
As a cord cutter but user of a TV antenna, and not paying a cable bill, I am happy to see this decision. I was worried that if Aereo would have won, OTA would be gone and I would be stuck paying Aereo $8 or whatever a month just to see TV. Plus if Aereo would have won, the stations would pull their OTA shows and make them cable only AND you would have to have a cable login to watch online at the networks site.

RE: Yeah!
By DiscoWade on 6/26/2014 7:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
But you are blaming Aereo for the network's greed. Your blame needs to go on the companies that want charge for commercials and charge for the right to view their channel.

RE: Yeah!
By djc208 on 6/26/2014 11:41:48 AM , Rating: 2
But not really. So your local ABC/NBC/CBS affiliate decides to pull the OTA plug over Areo. ABC/NBC/CBS/etc. produce the content, the local channel is just re-broadcasting that info while injecting some of their own.

If you can't get ABC OTA then ABC looses, and it's in their best interests to provide some sort of on-line version to get you back, if they don't already. Your local channel also looses viewership and would have to hope you'd use their web site for local content, though ad revenue from the web site is far lower than the TV stuff. Your cable company doesn't care either way because they proabably provide you with internet anyway.

The issue is the local stations want the same fee from Areo as they do from the local cable company, and they are pushing the networks.

I have all the same capabilities as Areo from my home DVR, but I have to buy the equipment and set it up and maintain it. It's not illegal for me to buy the equipment and software, just for Areo to do it.

By jdre on 6/26/2014 10:42:55 AM , Rating: 3
Isn't this article chock full of "replicating virtually any free web content and republishing it to the world?"

You republished the very screenshot of a copyright statement you found ironic. Which is itself ironic.

By djc208 on 6/26/2014 11:54:44 AM , Rating: 2
That's why this whole blog post is crap. This whole site is founded on the authors taking other sites information and re-broadcasting it, albeit with their own slant and by putting quote marks around it and a link to the source.

If it's a press release then it's designed for sites like this, otherwise Jason and everyone else here generate "original" content the by making a collage of other people's words/videos/photos and call the new shape original and copywrited. They would be just as pissed if the NY Times or similar wanted money for every link or quote, this site is only making money because they get their content mostly for free and can re-post it with advertising.

By jdre on 6/26/2014 12:01:11 PM , Rating: 2

By chromal on 6/26/2014 11:46:12 AM , Rating: 2
The entire premise of this article is completely off base. This was not about a provider's ability to steal and resell content, nor does it have any meaning outside its narrow scope.

This is simply a ruling on DVRs in the cloud, one that legislates from the bench and denies consumer choice, period, full stop, end of story.

RE: nope.
By jdre on 6/26/2014 12:54:47 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. There was WAY too much daydreaming about a dystopia in this article.

By jmunjr on 6/25/2014 7:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
If every user had a physical wire leading to to their micro-antenna would it have made a difference?

RE: wires
By jdre on 6/26/2014 10:18:53 AM , Rating: 2
Also a good question.

By JohnThacker on 6/27/2014 11:36:29 AM , Rating: 3
Justice Scalia likened the service to a "copy shop that provides its patrons with a library card" in a dissent, which conjures up the image of a public library. The only problem with that analogy is that a public library is free. It doesn't charge you a $1 USD/day fee or an $8 USD/month fee -- at least not directly.

This is a ridiculous comment, because some libraries *do* charge membership fees, and they are just as legal. And under this analogy, Aereo would be legal if they didn't charge a monthly fee. This weakens the whole article.

In reality, nothing in the majority decision (nor the dissent) turned on whether or not a fee was charged.

All nine Justices largely agreed that Aereo seemed to be a loophole in the 1970s law, but violated the spirit of the law. The question was whether the Court should fix the law so that it covered something that Congress obviously intended, even if technically it might be a loophole, or whether the Court should let the loophole stand and demand that Congress fix it. That is, does the "spirit of the law" matter more, or the "letter of the law?" In light with their consistent judicial philosophies, most of the justices ruled as expected.

The majority opinion of the pragmatic Breyer:
when read in light of its purpose, the Act is unmistakable... Viewed in terms of Congress’ regulatory objectives, why should any of these technological differences matter?"

The dissent, by the textualist Scalia:
It is not the role of this Court to identify and plug loopholes. It is the role of good lawyers to identify and exploit them, and the role of Congress to eliminate them if it wishes.

By jdre on 6/26/2014 11:02:08 AM , Rating: 2
"If what Aereo was doing were legal, it would become perfectly legal for NBC to tape ABC TV shows, news, and other program, and rebroadcast it to customers or sell it to them even."

How in hell do you figure that? That seems like a massive leap in logic.

Let's forget, for the moment, that NBC essentially DOES sell me ABC content, because Comcast. But that was the result of a different mistake, by the FTC.

How would the legality of leasing an individual antenna and receiving the free OTA information from that antenna (recorded or not) that I leased, no different than an antenna on my roof - how would that equate to NBC BROADCASTING ABC content.

One is RECEIVING an OTA signal. The other is DISTRIBUTING content to the masses.

We lost.
By CU on 6/26/2014 11:08:35 AM , Rating: 2
I wanted it to go the other way, but I new there was now way it would. It would bring to much change to the market.

You can already buy the stuff you need and do this from your home. Even streaming it to all your mobile devices across the internet. Just look at MythTV and other open source projects. Not sure about streaming to mobile devices, but Window media has extenders so you can stream content to other TV's. What does it matter if you pay someone to manage the devices for you? If I pay an IT consulted to manage my in home devices and even a maid to set the recordings up for me. Are they breaking the law now, by selling free OTA TV to me with out paying any licensing fees?

So what if ABC, could record free OTA NBC and narrowcast it. They would just be entering into the new business of on demand media consumption. NBC could then enter the business and compete. And, that would reduce the cost to consumers and drive development of new features. That is how it is suppose to work.

I don't really get the website comparison either. Have you not used google cache before. I use it sometime, just because it loads faster and it is not blocked at work. Is google cache illegal?

And finally what almost every other tech head is saying if DVR/VCR's are legal so is Aereo. The SCOTUS needs to make up their mind.

One damned fool's opinion
By SDBud on 6/27/2014 2:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
I realize this IS just an opinion piece,
but it's garbage like this that keeps me from reading blogs.

By Wolfpup on 6/27/2014 10:59:48 AM , Rating: 2
This to me looks like the service they're selling is renting an antenna and DVR service. I don't think that's the same thing as taking articles from a website and re-posting them. Maybe if you re-posted them, put none of your own ads in, and made sure that the original ads were all there and working, giving credit to the original which case what's the harm for the original site? Hmm...I'd say none but that it would still have copyright issues regardless...but what about renting a computer to view the site on, and having the site cached? I'd say that's closer to what this is...

And shutting down pay TV? Why? You're still getting the same ad revenue. People are still seeing the ads...they're just renting equipment to do it with.

Why would Fox actually shut down service? That just sounds insane. If they did that, they'd have millions fewer viewers than they do now (I'd no longer be a viewer), and they'd leave hundreds of stations without content. They'd leave an opening for someone else to immediately swoop in and replace them.

Not sure who could do that or how, but for example maybe NBC could take cable content and instead move it over to an "NBC-2" station that replaced all the Fox stations, something like that. That's what I'd do...take stuff they own on Sci-Fi and USA and the like and instead broadcast it on NBC-2...NBC gets more money and viewers, Fox gets less.

Why would they do that?

And personally I'd think cable will die before broadcast. Millions don't have it, tons more are dumping it. The prices are utterly insane...$15/month might be reasonable like it used to be when it was regulated, but the hundreds Comcast charges now?

By btc909 on 6/26/2014 3:55:04 PM , Rating: 1
Does a human being need TV to survive?

He's baaaaack...
By DigitalFreak on 6/25/14, Rating: -1
"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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