Networks score big win in Aereo case

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In a ruling that could ensure the ongoing use of broadcast TV as the main platform for live NFL games for decades to come, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Internet companies cannot retransmit programming harvested via antennas capturing otherwise “free” signals.

As explained by the Associated Press, a divided Supreme Court (is it ever unanimous on anything important?) found that a company known as Aereo must pay networks for content that it acquires freely through the public airwaves.

The ruling slams the door on efforts to exploit a loophole that would have legalized copyright infringement on an unprecedented scale, undermining and devaluing network programming and ultimately making it harder for those networks to support the gigantic rights fees paid for live porting events, like the NFL.

if the outcome had gone the other way, a turbulent TV industry would have been thrust into further tumult, with the ever-fracturing audience being further siphoned by companies that provide the ability to access programming that was recorded during free broadcasts, stored digitally, and then viewed on an on-demand basis.

The NFL and other sports leagues supported the efforts of the networks to protect their broadcast assets.

27 responses to “Networks score big win in Aereo case

  1. BS.
    This whole problem is caused by the league and the networks. People try to watch it on the internet because they don’t want to watch the crappy local team every week no matter how many good games are on.
    ie; In Omaha you are forced to watch the queifs every fn week. Doesn’t matter if the what other great afc game is on your going to watch the queifs play the jaguars in a meaningless game for the right to pick higher in the draft.

    So people turn to the internet to watch a decent game.

    If people could watch what they want without the BS games and blackout rule (something the SC should really be looking at) people wouldn’t be trying to watch it on the internet.

  2. This type of service would be great for people who cannot receive OTA broadcasts for whatever reason (hills, buildings, distance, etc).

    And this service would be cool for your mobile devices.

    Hopefully Aereo comes to some sort of agreement with the broadcast networks. Maybe something like live TV only, no DVR feature but allow time-shifting, and using customer location to be sure locally-broadcasted commercials are being shown. Then throw some coin in as well.

    Comcast scrambled all of my channels just before pre-season started last year, and wanted another $8 a month PER TELEVISION to continue watching the service I was already paying for. Oh, hell no. I was lucky enough that I live in an area that can receive OTA signals, so I bought an antenna. Many others aren’t as lucky.

  3. you either watch or don’t watch. if you watch, you watch at home the games your city or region provides. or you pay for nfl ticket and watch whatever you want. or you go out to a sports bar with nfl ticket and watch whatever you want. it is not a great effort to go to a sports bar for a few hrs. ”

    quit whining.

  4. How in the world would this have legalized copyright infringement? This was no different than me installing an antenna with a DVR attached. The antenna was just located several miles from my house.

    The networks and their local affiliates have made a fortune off of the public airwaves for which most of the affiliates paid nothing. That is the real crime here.

  5. If the programming is free (because of advertizing dollars),
    or once free (because of advertizing dollars),

    the government of the people, for the people, and by the people, cannot and will not be allow such programming to be shared amongst the people(along with the advertizing).

    Talk about justice denied!!

  6. You people are so right!!!! The NFL sucks!!! But we still watch it?? I wish I could wave a magic wand over my head and,, poof!!! I no longer new the NFL exists!!!!!!

  7. The Aereo case was about a company that rented out over-the-air equipment to users who would then stream the over-the-air content that was available for free FROM the OTA equipment they’d rented TO their own computer.

    It’s not great for consumers because it means that consumers don’t have a right to rent OTA equipment in a remote location, according to the USSC at least.

    It’s got terribly little to do with copyright infringement at all.

  8. A crappy ruling like this that keeps people from sharing their signals with each other.

    If a friend resides in the area that gets the Game of the Week signal, why can’t he share it with the poor NFL fans of Minnesota and other areas who are denied the signal? Why are they forced to watch a garbage game of the weak?

    The national advertisers are still reaching a national audience.

    Be sure to tell your grandchildren what is was like back in the good old days of freedom when the internet was not constricted, and controlled, by the totalitarian government.

  9. Re: is it ever unanimous on anything important?

    The court’s ruling in the other case today about not searching your cell phone without a warrant was unanimous. That whole fourth amendment thing, it’s kinda important.

  10. This ruling proves the SCOTUS is living in the 18th century. They have no clue of the new technologies that are emerging and this will affect cloud computing. The cable companies and the networks will continue to raise the consumers rates with impunity. The NFL and the major sports leagues along with their cable/network partners have set back innovation by squashing Aeros disruptive technology.

  11. The Republicans are up in arms that a big business lost in court. That Scalia trashed the decision is all I need to know about how correct the decision was.

  12. This issue was already fought years ago by cable companies, DirecTV and Dish Network, who were also found that they have to pay to re-broadcast network TV. Aereo can still offer the service to consumers, but they have to follow the same rules as all other re-broadcasters and pay for the product they are selling.

    You have to admit, it was a great business model. Take copyrighted content that you didn’t create without paying for it and then collect a monthly subscription. Genius. Look how well it worked for….oh wait, didn’t work for them either.

  13. These affiliates pay for the “right” to be the exclusive provider of the network programming they are affiliated with. To steal that signal, repackage it, and sell it… Without compensating the owner of the content is down right larceny.

    Furthermore, it actually was a HUGE infringement on compulsory copyright, which says that if your broadcast signal is shown outside of the market which you are licensed to show that programming then you would OWE compulsory copyright fees. If Aereo had own, then a viewer in California could in theory watch programming from New York and BAM the owners of that programming (not the networks who actually own very little of the content they show) could file for compulsory copyright infringement and the station would have to pay them.

    Lastly, the technology Aereo claimed to use is bogus. It does not exist. There does not exist an antenna in this world the size of a dime that can pull in signals as they claim. The reason it works is that the use these tiny antennas in an array to capture the signals. That is not one to one. That is many to many and hence makes them an MVPD (multiple viewer paid distributor) and subject to the same rules and regulations as cable and satellite provides.

    The Supreme Court got it right.

  14. what the content providers fail to recognize is that most people dont copyright infringe because they want to steal and get stuff for free to they do it because we dont really have an affordable alternative.

    take napster years ago, people just wanted music, the music industry got all up in arms and then itunes came out and industry realized people will pay if the convenience and quality content they want is there.

    its time that TV and Movies got on the ball, we just want the content they way we want it, we’ll pay for it. just give it to us.

    for instance, get rid of the directTV ticket and let us have all the games… we will pay for it.

  15. Soon or a later what Aero wanted to do will become legal due to public demand. It may not happen for another 5-15 yrs but it will happen.

  16. I am (was) a subscriber. I am now in Arizona after living in South Florida. I would have been able to watch the CBS feed for pre and regular season games. Except for last year I have always had to be raped by Directv to watch my Dolphins, and before that had to put a big satellite dish on my roof in New Jersey. At $8 a month this would have been perfect but big money monopolies win out. I would pay to watch all preseason and regular season games as well as pre and post game local feeds but can’t get that access. This SUCKS!!!!

  17. It’s actually quite interesting. In essence Aereo was knocked for taking something that someone else produces and presents, and simply re-distributing it, without paying the originator accordingly.

    I can think of other things that are strikingly similar, and that a legal precedence has now been set for.

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