Aereo, Broadcast Television, and U.S. Copyright Law

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April 22 (Bloomberg) -- New York University School of Law Professor Chris Sprigman explains the copyright law behind the Supreme Court battle between Aereo and broadcast TV networks and what the decision may mean for the television industry going forward on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

Copyright nerds because it is 50/50. harry diller is right.

Aeruio says we are providing antennas for customers and dvr is.

The dvr is a long car but it is just a digital video recorder.

The broadcaster said they are like a cable system.

There are support on in the copyright act for both interpretations.

The supreme court will have to pick one.

I cannot tell you which one they will pick but it has tremendous implications.

Aerio is what dropbox does or any other cloud service does.

If aerio is ruled illegal, this -- the supreme court will have to find a way not to rule all of cloud computing illegal.

Hold on, i have a question.

If you liken aerio to dropbox, how exactly.

? they take stuff available for free under federal license to use public airwaves and put it on a dvr-like service and make it available to you in real time via a streaming signal.


If i buy a piece of music and decide to store it on the cloud, i have purchased rights.

Isn't that a different agreement between me and the music seller then me and the public broadcaster?

That's a great point.

I think it should be but the broadcaster saying it's not different because every time you stream something, even stream of right to purchase, you create what the copyright law calls a public performance.

There are millions of people who stream content from dropbox and other cloud services and these are all- where does the supreme court decision from 2008 that validated the use of remote dvr services for cablevision fit into this?

That is kind of the same as dropbox.

That was not a supreme court decision.

That was a circuit decision.

Aerio's claim is that they are creating private performances.

They are saying it's up to the consumer for them to grab the signal as opposed to them pushing it to them.

That is the line of argument thatasereo will present.

It hinges on these nitty-gritty legal details.

The consequence is one way or the other is billions of dollars in retransmission fees.

Cbs is the most watched network area they get an average of about two dollars for every cable or satellite environment that picks up the signal.

That's money that could be lost if aereo wins.

What are the consequences if they win?

From your perspective, is it a game changer?

It could be, absolutely.

For home?

For the cable companies and for all of us.

The cable companies, if they are allowed to operate, they will lose retransmission fees they would otherwise get.

Cable companies -- you mean the broadcasters- the broadcasters will lose retransmission fees and a terms of all of us, the question is whether the stuff we do on the cloud will come under copyright suspicion going forward.

How do i win?

How does the consumer wwin?

Aereo says we are offering a cheaper bundle than the eight dollars per month which is cheaper than your cheapest cable bill.

When you get your cable bill at the end of the month and you look at it every month, are you kidding me?

What else are you going to do?

There is a bundling aspect to this as a sideline argument to what is going on.

All the cable companies so you cable packages and they are selling it the way the programming is sold to them.

In other words, time warner will bundle together a bunch of turner channels like tnt and cnn into one package to the distributor who sells it in a similar form to the consumer which is why you can't pick and choose one channel over another.

Asereo has a smaller bundles of their creating a de facto smaller bundle.

Given the fact that legal precedent exists, is it possible that the court could split on some aspect of this ruling and allow aereo to redistribute the airwaves in a dvr format but not it would simultaneously in live streaming?

It's possible but they are more likely to say that aereo never paid for the content and cablevision did so we can make aereo shut down and we can keep other cloud computing services going.

The supreme court is free to make it up as they go along.

I would expect if they are going to thread the needle, that's how they might do it.

It's only going to the eight justices hearing the case because alito refused to hear the case -- recused himself.

He unrecused himself.

Do you have a sense of which way he might rule?

I would say it will be 5-4 against aereo.

The two justices likely to roll be justice ginsburg and justice breyer who are liberals but they have different views on copyright.

This is not really a conservative versus liberal argument, is it?

It's not elliptical.

Liberals and conservatives split along different lines and there are intuitions about what consumers should be able to have access to.

People have been talking about the technological implications of this ruling.

To what degree are all of us at a disadvantage by the somewhat antiquated nature of the two acts at issue from 1976 and in 19 92 copyright act.

The 1970 61 will drive the decision.

When congress passed that, they did not have a glimmer this would exist.

They passed the 1976 act and the internet comes in is widespread by the mid-90's and the changes everything.

There is momentum building for congress to take another look at copyright law and try to align of the way the internet has transformed everything.

The other aspect is these retransmission fees the broadcasters have been getting are still relatively new in their business.

Not too long ago, they were not getting those fees.

It might have been less of an issue.

It was less than 10 years ago.

It has to do with what they call it must carry provision or non-carry provision.

If you have to carry my signal, you don't have to pay me those fees.

If i get rid of that provision, you do have to pay me.

They negotiate for those rates.

It's a lot of money they don't want to lose.

It's a relatively recent phenomenon from a business standpoint and it is why they're fighting so hard.

Does that matter, the fact that the broadcasters have the right to collect retransmission fees for so long but did not do it until five or six years ago?

I think it does and even if aereo survives, i don't think it will material her the cable companies.

The cable companies are making money off of subscriber fees.

The broadcasters are making money off of ads.

It is not as if this programming is being provided by aereo and no one is making money.

There is still money involved.

Thank you both for breaking

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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