Light Reading

Supreme Court Halts Aereo's Flight

Mari Silbey
6/25/2014
50%
50%

After years of legal wrangling, the US Supreme Court has finally dealt what may be the fatal blow to video streaming company Aereo.

In a much anticipated 6-3 decision, the high court announced that Aereo Inc. 's system of using dime-sized antennas to capture over-the-air (OTA) TV signals and then deliver them to consumers as individual online streams is equivalent to creating a public performance. As such, Aereo must pay retransmission fees to broadcasters, just like any cable TV, satellite TV, or telco TV provider. (See CBS Financials Fuel Aereo Angst.)

From the official Syllabus or summary of the decision in the case of American Broadcasting Cos., Inc., Et Al. v. Aereo, Inc., FKA Bamboom Labs, Inc:

    Aereo claims that because it transmits from user-specific copies, using individually-assigned antennas, and because each transmission is available to only one subscriber, it does not transmit a performance 'to the public.' Viewed in terms of Congress' regulatory objectives, these behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish Aereo's system from cable systems, which do perform publicly. Congress would as much have intended to protect a copyright holder from the unlicensed activities of Aereo as from those of cable companies.

The Supreme Court's decision, which reversed a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, was written by Justice Stephen Breyer. Justice Antonin Scalia led the dissent, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito.

Because Aereo has based its entire business model on combining free OTA content with web video in an inexpensive online subscription service, the company now has no way to generate revenue without a significant shift in strategy. Presumably there is still value in Aereo's technical process for capturing video over the air and efficiently transcoding it for delivery over the web. But whether that will translate into a successful business in the future is unclear.

Meanwhile, the ruling is a major win for broadcasters. While OTA networks have historically made the bulk of their money from advertising, their income from licensing fees has grown substantially as a share of total revenue in recent years. If Aereo had prevailed in court, there would have been nothing to prevent other service providers from following a similar model and bypassing retransmission fees to deliver OTA content.

Related posts:

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(47)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 5   >   >>
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 7:15:57 PM
Re: Intent
There are a lot of things different between city and suburban living.   You pay more, but you get cultural amenities.   It's expensive to own and house a car, but you might not even need one with transit.   On and on it goes.

Yes, it is a disadvantage to living in a tall apartment building admidst a sea of tall apartment buildings when it comes to radio signals.  That is one price to be paid for high density living.   There is no law that I am aware of saying that every citizen of the United States has a right to receive a clear, strong television signal no matter where he lives, and for free.   I would welcome any hyperlink to such a law, if it exists.

You are not required to live in a tall apartment building.  You can live somewhere else, and since there is the option of cable, fiber and satellite...there are things you can do acquire entertainment.    

Even if you were totally isolated from entertainment, there would still be no justification based on current law for you to construct an elaborate system to take a signal, copy it to digital, and send it as a binary stream over the internet without any agreement with the orignal owner. 

The limit of RF is like a fence.   Think of going down a country road.  You see these wooden corral fences.   How hard would it be for you to climb over one of these fences in the middle of nowhere?   Not very hard.   You could easily go onto someone's private property.   But that is not the point.  It is not the responsibility of the owner to do anything more than mark his property.   He should not have to electrify it with barbed wires.  The fence is reasonable information as to where the property line begins and ends.

With broadcast TV, the "property line" ends where the signal ends.   Any attempt to grab it where its strong and reroute it with a different tecnology is violating a property boundary. 

 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 6:13:47 PM
Re: Intent
jabailo,

The challenge is that apartment dwellers in major cities often can not place antennas or dishes.  Being inside a building means that reception is often poor.  In the old days, apartment buildings encourged people to put antennas on the roof.  Now, not so much.

Your notion of space rental is exactly right and that is Aereo's way around things in my estimation.  Instead of renting the kit required, sell it and rent the space to hold it and power to activate it.  At that point, I think the model ends up at about the same point as they are today.

And I agree with you it is not a disruptive service, just very useful to low end consumers.

seven

 
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 4:56:33 PM
Re: Intent
Is Aero really disruptive?

To me it's like the people who would sell cable descramblers.

They are merely taking a restricted resource, and offering a technology to steal it.

I don't think they have a leg to stand on legally.

The only equivalent of what they are doing is for someone to take a long cable, and run it themselves all the way to someplace near the broadcast antenna.

If you are willing to spend money for the right-of-way to do this and rent space on someone's roof you are free to do so.   I doubt if it would be competitive with a $35/mo satellite tv service!

 
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 4:39:46 PM
Re: Intent
@jabailo:

> I have a carton of eggs.   The truck takes it to the loading dock.  
> Now you come along and take a dozen and put it in your car and
> sell it by the roadside.  How can that be legal?

Not a correct analogy. Do we exactly know on which legal grounds did court decided against Aero?

Disruptive technologies always disrupt the existing business models. Its one of those!
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/29/2014 | 2:50:41 AM
Re: Whats Next?
> The service still works, you can still sign up as a new customer

No it does not. Now there's nothing on the website but this letter:

 

wanlord
50%
50%
wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2014 | 7:58:21 PM
RE: Intent
I guess they didn't waste time. They stopped streaming & replaced their home page with a letter. Cute little paperclip shaped like their antenna. Somehow I think they have something up their sleeve and this isn't the end...
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/28/2014 | 5:27:20 AM
RE: Intent
In my view, getting broadcast TV signals over the internet seems like 'not a good idea'. It's not worth the trouble since you can get them through computer browsers. Besides, you can use them almost anywhere you want. We need to start thinking clearly and get our facts and priorities right especially when it comes to chucking any dollar from our pockets. Maybe Aereo should think of renting some space and power to house the consumer equipment rather than sticking to the idea of owning the equipment.
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/27/2014 | 4:43:53 PM
Re: Intent
So why do you think that having an external antenna is proscribed. Before there was lots of cable lots of people had external antennas. We are simply talking about a way to wire my antenna to my tv. Seven
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/27/2014 | 10:29:50 AM
Re: Whats Next?
Barry Diller (a.k.a. The Money Guy) isn't likely to stick around. Fade to black.
wanlord
50%
50%
wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/27/2014 | 9:38:59 AM
Whats Next?
So what happens next? Does Aereo just cease operations/service? When? The service still works, you can still sign up as a new customer, so what are the next steps?

 

 
Page 1 / 5   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.