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Supreme Court Justices Express Concern Over Scope of Aereo Ruling (TVNewser)
While hearing oral arguments from attorneys representing the broadcast networks and Aereo Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court justices “appeared unsure” how to rule in the case. Reuters Aereo, backed by media mogul Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, could be forced to shut down if the court rules for the companies challenging the startup. A win for Aereo could spur innovation in the television industry by paving the way to new, cheaper ways for consumers to watch shows. A decision is due by the end of June. Bloomberg Hearing arguments Tuesday in Washington, some justices suggested they viewed Aereo as violating broadcaster copyrights by using thousands of dime-sized antennas to get over-the-air signals without paying fees. “There’s no technological reason for you to have 10,000 dime-sized antennas other than to get around the copyright laws?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked. At the same time, the hour-long hearing didn’t clearly indicate the likely outcome, as justices including Stephen Breyer repeatedly asked whether a ruling favoring the broadcasters would imperil the cloud computing business. Variety Some of the justices on Tuesday suggested that they faced a challenge in defining just what Aereo is, and drawing a line on where privately used consumer technology ends and a publicly performing service begins. The Washington Post Aereo argued that its thousands of antennas are essentially rented to subscribers of its $8-a-month service for users to pull programs from the public airwaves legally and then store in Internet server files to watch at their convenience. In that way, it is just a mediator, the company argued, with consumers in control of how they use the company’s antennas and storage files for pulling and recording programs from the airwaves. Most of the arguments, which lasted more than an hour, were focused on the justice’s queries about the definition of public and private performances in copyright law and how Aereo differs from cable, satellite and other Internet video firms that pay broadcasters retransmission and other license fees.