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posted by Dopefish on Friday February 21 2014, @12:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the what-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-stronger dept.

Fluffeh writes:

"Although there are arguments scheduled for 22 April in the Supreme Court, US District Judge Dale Kimball of Utah ruled against Aereo which effectively bans it in Utah along with the rest of the 10th Circuit, which includes Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

Kimball ruled that Aereo's retransmission of Plaintiffs' copyrighted programs "is indistinguishable from a cable company and falls squarely within the language of the Transmit Clause." He didn't buy Aereo's argument that its system of renting a tiny antenna to each customer allows it to avoid the "Transmit Clause" of the 1976 Copyright Act, which determines what kind of "transmissions" of copyrighted material must pay licensing fees."

 
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Twike on Friday February 21 2014, @01:03PM

    by Twike (483) <lure@comiclisting.info> on Friday February 21 2014, @01:03PM (#4269)

    A) I believe they make money by renting hardware and providing digital access to the output of the same.
    B) This may not align with the methods of tracking over-the-air usage(Nielson ratings)
    C) The TV stations are therefore probably not being paid for the additional viewership
    C.1) The viewership may not be in the area, essentially devaluing the commercials due to audience size not aligning with those geographically located near the businesses to which the commercials were sold
    C.2) The vierership may be not watching commercials for the area in which they are geographically located, possibly reducing the amount able to be charged by ohter staions which are located near the viewer.

    I think that about covers the arguments I've heard. I don't personally believe it, I think once you've broadcast it it should be "in the wild" and uncontrolable, but IANAL.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by monster on Friday February 21 2014, @02:03PM

    by monster (1260) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:03PM (#4293) Journal

    About point B...

    Nielsen ratings are crap. They were engineered a long, long time ago, when a typical household had at most ONE TV and watching TV was a family event. They have had a lot of problems transitioning to the current situation (several TVs per household, streaming, DVRs and later views, etc.) and it is used today only because of tradition (feel-good for the broadcasting execs) and lack of better budget options (phone interviews are expensive and prone to lying/false reporting and stream tracking is difficult unless you give full reporting power to the providers, who have a vetted interest in showing great results).

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Maow on Friday February 21 2014, @02:32PM

    by Maow (8) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:32PM (#4316) Homepage

    C.1) The viewership may not be in the area, essentially devaluing the commercials due to audience size not aligning with those geographically located near the businesses to which the commercials were sold
    C.2) The vierership may be not watching commercials for the area in which they are geographically located, possibly reducing the amount able to be charged by ohter staions which are located near the viewer.

    I haven't looked into Aereo myself, but from my understanding, they do require their customers to be within the area they're subscribing to.

    i.e. Someone in Buffalo can't subscribe to New York TV via Aereo.

    Saw that on Ars Technica I believe.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by RedBear on Friday February 21 2014, @05:49PM

    by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2014, @05:49PM (#4434)

    The part that makes this fuzzy for me is that Aereo is a commercial entity profiting off the rebroadcasting of someone else's content. This is why I can't fully buy into the argument that the broadcast content should be free once it's transmitted. Just because it's being broadcast over the public airwaves doesn't mean that anyone can record the broadcast and then sell it someone else. It's still copyrighted content. Go ahead and try reselling it yourself, see how fast you get locked up.

    The part about renting an individual antenna to each end user is, I think, just a silly technical quibble that doesn't particularly matter. The primary issue is that Aereo is making money rebroadcasting (and devaluing) someone else's content without permission. I may be the oddball on this issue but I'm having real difficulty understanding why Aereo shouldn't be required to pay the owners of the content to redistribute their content FOR A PROFIT. After all, I doubt anyone would be willing to pay Aereo to redistribute static. The redistribution of watchable content is what the users are paying money for. The fact that it is an unencrypted broadcast over public airwaves is completely beside the point as far as I'm concerned. The airwaves are public property, the specific copyrighted content is not. Unless they want to operate as some kind of non-profit co-op where each user owns (not rents) their own antenna and their piece of the necessary redistribution system, I think the whole concept is bogus.

    Oh yeah, and FRIST POST on SoylentNews! Schweet!

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    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Angelwind on Friday February 21 2014, @07:08PM

      by Angelwind (1439) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:08PM (#4471)

      When VCRs came out for the masses, the broadcast companies tried to stop it because time shifting was akin to the Boston Strangler. And then the court said that it's fine (with the help of Mr. Fred Rogers himself making a case for being able to record his shows) and Hollywood discovered a new market for movies and TV shows.

      When Tivo came along they screamed just as loud because you could skip commercials. While you could fast forward past them on VCRs, you would still see the video you're going past. With a Tivo you only saw snippets of commercials as you jumped to the next segment of the show. Tivo eventually caved, but like the VCR no one was actually hurt.

      I see Aereo as a remote Tivo and should be treated as such. The only difference is that I'm renting the antenna and the equipment that is not physically at my house so I can watch their shows. They're using the Cablevison ruling as their basis, and I find it sound reasoning that I hope the Supreme Court goes with. Broadcasting is free-to-air and as long as they are not breaking any rules as far as public performances, and only I have access to my recordings, then they're not doing anything wrong except doing the hard work of getting me a good signal for my rented antenna (which is a huge pain in the first place and some days makes me miss analog) and giving me DVR functionality on top of it. I used to work in the TV industry so I know how advertising is needed for local stations to stay on the air, but when you look at the ratings for first time airings of prime time shows, I don't think Aereo is going to hurt them, and may actually help them in the long run, because people will finally be able to get their channels again.

      What broadcast companies are worried about is cable companies (and satellite when they do local channels) coming up with the same idea as Aereo and not having to have to pay retransmission fees because hey, tiny antennas for all our subscribers!

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by tynin on Friday February 21 2014, @07:23PM

      by tynin (2013) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:23PM (#4484) Journal

      Since you have to be in the area of the transmission for Aereo to resell it to you, who exactly do you think is there target audience? After all, the same people should be able to get these OTA for free.
       
      What this service is for, is for people who should have access to these TV transmissions already, but are for one reason or another, unable to get reception. There are many legitimate reasons that make it almost impossible to get reception depending on your geographic location, or if you are living in a building where putting up an antenna is illegal, or maybe you just get poor reception.
       
      These broadcasters are going to doing nothing to solve this TV equivalent of the ISP "last mile" problem, but they should. To me, this was nothing but fair competition coming in and filling in the gaps of other companies failure.

      • (Score: 1) by jonh on Friday February 21 2014, @09:17PM

        by jonh (733) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:17PM (#4552) Homepage

        The TV companies would much rather pretend that it's still 1950, and they sure as hell aren't going to spend any time or money looking into this fancy "computers" stuff to increase their viewership to include people who can't get a decent OTA signal, or want to watch their TV shows on their phone or laptop.

        But they're also damn sure that even though they're not interested in improving value to their customers, nobody else should be able to either. Why should they have to adapt their business to changing realities? There simply must be some kind of law against this kind of thing!

        </snarkasm>

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by dmc on Friday February 21 2014, @07:56PM

      by dmc (188) on Friday February 21 2014, @07:56PM (#4503)

      The part that makes this fuzzy for me is that Aereo is a commercial entity profiting off the rebroadcasting of someone else's content.

      This sentence would be a nice foundation, but I don't by the *re*broad*casting* word. "broad"casting seems to imply making something "broadly" available to others. From my (non-RTFA) gathering, this is only making it available to the same person who could have watched it at home instead. I'd call that "narrowcasting" myself.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by jonh on Friday February 21 2014, @09:28PM

        by jonh (733) on Friday February 21 2014, @09:28PM (#4558) Homepage
        It seems to me anyway, that if it's legal to run a business which rents VCR's or DVD players, then there shouldn't be any objections to running a business which rents what's essentially a tiny antenna plus a digital VCR. Aereo have clearly gone to some rather absurd lengths to stay within the confines of the law, such as it currently is.

        The fact that they seem to be profitable would indicate that there's a clear demand for the service they're providingthe TV comapanies could get rid of Aereo simply by competing with them and offering their OTA programming to viewers over the internet.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by davester666 on Friday February 21 2014, @08:57PM

      by davester666 (155) on Friday February 21 2014, @08:57PM (#4538)

      So, these OTA broadcasts from TV stations are for consumers to receive by their TV sets, right?

      So, customer buys TV set with a built-in Antennae.
      Gets crappy reception. But totally legal.
      Buys an antennae to sit on top of the TV.
      Still gets crappy reception. But totally legal.
      Hires somebody to install an antennae on a pole outside his house with coax cable to the tv.
      Finally gets good reception. Still totally legal.
      Buys a VCR and hooks it up to both antennae and tv, records shows and watches them later. Totally legal.

      I'm not exactly sure what the legal arguments the broadcasters are using [or what the problem the judge found],because the differences from the above setup to what Aereo is doing are:

      1) renting the use of a pair of antennae for you to use, from their office in the same city that you live in, where you select what channels they are tuned to, one for viewing, the other being recorded for you to watch later.
      2) sending the output of those antennae [either live or recorded] to your home through the internet instead of using a coax cable.