Last year we talked about streaming company, Aereo, who was ready to take on a round of legal battles for them dancing on the line of copyright infringement with their broadcast TV-streaming service. This week, we have some news coming out of that lawsuit, where it's pretty much Aereo vs every broadcaster in America.
Coming from a federal appeals court in New York, a judge had upheld a ruling favoring Aereo, which now means the two sides will face off in a big trial. The broadcasters have said that they do not understand the upheld ruling, however are confident that they will win out in the long run (due to their billions of dollars they can spend on lawyers). Aereo can also continue to operate as-is until the trial, and they look to expand beyond New York City and offer their over-the-air streaming service to another 24 cities by the end of this year.
Media giant and Aereo backer, Barry Diller, said this about the appeal being upheld,
We always thought our Aereo platform was permissible and I'm glad the court has denied the injunction. Now we'll build out the rest of the U.S.
The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said that the lower court ruling is sound and ruled in a two-to-one decision that,
Aereo's streams of TV shows to individual subscribers did not constitute public performances, and thus the broadcasters' copyright infringement lawsuits against the service are not likely to prevail on the merits.
Other judges seem to be unhappy with the ruling, like Denny Chin, who said that Aereo has simply "taken advantage of a perceived loophole in the law." Wait a minute, isn't that what big name companies like News Corp., Apple and the like do all the time and nobody says a word? Ah, how the tables have turned. Fox and PBS had this to say,
Today's decision is a loss for the entire creative community. The court has ruled that it is O.K. to steal copyrighted material and retransmit it without compensation. While we are disappointed with this decision, we have and are considering our options to protect our programming.
While I think that Aereo will eventually fall, due to not only the premise of the service that is questionably legal at best but because of the deep pockets of big business, it's nice to see broadcast companies sweat a little bit more. We already know they're afraid of the Internet and have no idea what they're doing in the space. Fox lets Dish Network users view Hulu Plus content seven days earlier but they have ownership in DirecTV. That, in itself, is proof that this battle will go on, long after Aereo falls, if they do. Someone else will come along and find another small loophole, exploit it as much as we can, and we'll probably be back at this in a year or two. It's time to change, broadcasters, and you can either do it on your own, or someone else will step in and help you, albeit in a backwards, take-money-out-of-your-pockets, kind of way.