Aereo: Double or Nothing — Awaiting the July Ruling

Suzanne Ortie writing for the CMF's Trendscape blog:

At the heart of the legal action, two positions are clearly apparent. Aereo positions itself as an individual signal recording and capturing service—providing a service it considers similar to antenna or personal recorder rentals—whereas the consortium of broadcasters (formed by ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox) claims that Aereo is illegally capturing signals (and content) for which it does not own the intellectual property rights, thereby infringing the U.S. Copyright Act. These diametrically opposed positions have rekindled a debate on traditional channels’ five main vectors (i.e., rights, technology, national regulations, new uses and industrial structures) that is far from over. At the heart of potential deliberations are the definition of broadcasting and broadcasting rights, the explosion of the number of available cable packages, data pricing and profitability, the sustainability of local stations that relay signals, etc. But what this case highlights is how broadcasting giants have reacted to the emergence of “small” technology entrepreneurs who count on very skilled attorneys to brilliantly plead their technology’s ideological neutrality and consumers’ right to capture signals that the government provides broadcasters on a privileged basis.