& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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   >   >>
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Interviews
    Demand Surges for On-Demand Ads

    5|5|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ed Knudson, VP, Product and Strategy at Canoe Ventures, discusses the rising appeal of VoD ads and the challenges on inserting ads dynamically in live TV programming.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Exclusive: Video Interview With Sckipio CEO David Baum

    5|5|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At his headquarters in Tel Aviv, G.fast visionary David Baum, CEO of Sckipio, provided an exclusive interview to Light Reading and showed how innovations in rate and reach, vector densities, fast reconnecting times and SFP-based residential gateways are expanding the potential of G.fast.
    Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
    Atrinet's NetACE – Migration to NFV & SDN With NetOps-Driven LSO

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At Atrinet's headquarters, Ray Le Maistre sits down with Roy Silon to get an in-depth look into the company's focus and the secret recipe for their success.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Amsterdam ArenA, Powered by Huawei

    5|4|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Huawei's ICT solutions power the state-of-the-art Amsterdam ArenA, turning it into a smart stadium.
    LRTV Interviews
    Testing When There's No 'There' There

    5|4|16   |     |   (1) comment


    The benefits of SDN/NFV are well known, but the transition comes with some challenges, prominent among them is: how do you test a network that has been abstracted and has the potential to be endlessly reconfigurable? Light Reading was at NFV World Congress in Santa Clara, Calif., where we bumped into Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds, a Swedish ...
    LRTV Interviews
    Ditching the Slash & the Orchestration Wars

    5|3|16   |     |   (2) comments


    SDN and NFV have been inextricably bound with each other for so long that on a conceptual level, smooshing them together into one catch-all phrase – SDNFV – is now justifiable, according to Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). Light Reading spoke to Pitt at the NFV World Congress, where he explained that the next ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    ZTE TV Connect Highlights

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    ZTE gives us a tour of its booth and new products at TV Connect in London.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution

    5|3|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and visit the Deluxe booth at NAB! Here you'll find Deluxe's Unified Delivery Solution, OTT video, virtual reality, HDR, 4K and much more!
    LRTV Interviews
    Verizon Puts Gray Boxes in the Shade

    5|2|16   |   04:33   |   (1) comment


    When it comes to the white box trend, "gray" boxes, which have a slight proprietary twist, don't give service providers and end users the advantages they're seeking, according to Verizon's Vice President of Product and New Business Innovation Shawn Hakl.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Dealing With a Disrupted Video Market

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Ericsson's Simon Frost discusses how traditional pay-TV providers can cope with the big changes wrought by the rise of OTT video and IP technology.
    LRTV Custom TV
    The VNF Responsibility of Red Hat

    5|2|16   |     |   (0) comments


    At MWC, Caroline Chappell of Heavy Reading visits the Red Hat booth and sits down with Chris Wright to talk about the responsibility the VNF needs to take on in order to ensure the operators get the carrier-grade performance they expect for their network.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Sprint CEO: Our Spectrum Is for 5G
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/3/2016
    Amazon & Other 'Big 4' Cloud Providers Crushing Competitors
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/29/2016
    Rovi Reels in TiVo for $1.1B
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/29/2016
    Showdown at the OpenStack Corral
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 5/3/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Sloth Mail Click Here
    Sloth mail -- somehow even slower than snail mail.
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.