& 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   >   >>
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 19, 1:00PM EDT
Securing a Virtual World
Rita Marty, Executive Director, Mobility and Cloud Security, Chief Security Office, AT&T
Friday, October 21, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Evolving the Data Center
Rasool Kareem Irfan, Head, Telecom & Infrastructure Security Practice, Tata Communications Transformation Services Ltd (TCTS)
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
From Philly, With Love

9|30|16   |     |   (5) comments


Join Alan Breznick, cable's answer to the Italian Stallion, as he runs through the highlights of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, lumbers along in Rocky Balboa's footsteps and searches for the perfect Philadelphia cheesesteak.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SD-WAN Customers Looking for Value Not Cost Savings

9|30|16   |   5:31   |   (0) comments


At NFV & Carrier SDN in Denver, CenturyLink's Eric Nowak told Light Reading that when customers launch SD-WAN, they aren't necessary looking to save money, but instead they are looking for more value from what they're spending. He also shared some unique case studies and lessons learned from launching SD-WAN services.
LRTV Custom TV
Flexible Deployment Approaches for the Gigabit Services Evolution

9|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


For many operators, the gigabit evolution begins with the shift from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1. But that move represents a change not only in the protocol itself, but in the approach to architecting their entire DOCSIS delivery chain -- from the headend to the outside plant and home gateway components.

Jonathan Ruff, senior director of global technical ...

LRTV Interviews
Level 3 VP: Enterprises Need More for Less

9|29|16   |   05:27   |   (0) comments


Andrew Dugan, Level 3 group vice president of global technology and IT, says enterprises need more bandwidth and they need it faster and with greater security, but they want to spend less, if possible. They are looking to carriers to reduce their network complexity and help protect them from cyberattacks as well.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SDN/NFV Pose New Interconnection Possibilities

9|28|16   |   04:37   |   (0) comments


Network operators should develop new APIs and business processes for reselling virtual assets to each other, says CenturyLink's Bill Walker. That will enable them to build digital business portfolios that help them avoid becoming commodity transport providers.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Overcoming Terror of Being Supplier, Integrator & Developer

9|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Travis Ewert of Level 3 Communications said there is terror in becoming supplier, integrator and developer, but it can be overcome and be cost effective.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing IoT World News

9|27|16   |   01:43   |   (0) comments


Self-driving cars, medical sensors, smart cities... and refrigerators. In order to address the huge scope of IoT, KNect365 has created a unique online community that will help businesses to understand and monetize the opportunities that live within the IoT market. We look forward to welcoming you to IoT World News -- your gateway to a better connected future.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Reusable Functions Next NFV Key

9|27|16   |   06:03   |   (0) comments


The next generation of NFV has to break functions down into reusable software chunks, making everything much more cloud-like.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (2) comments


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Eurobites: Telefónica Taps Juniper for Network Security
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/26/2016
Powell Kills the Cable Show
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/29/2016
Telstra Sees Quadrupled Data Capacity by 2020
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/28/2016
From Philly, With Love
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 9/30/2016
Open Source Getting on My Nerves
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/26/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.