Sunday, February 1st-1.2°C
24736
24889

Broadcasters' copyright challenge to streaming TV could have big impact on how we get programs

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a dispute between broadcasters and an Internet startup company that has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

The company is Aereo Inc., and the justices are hearing arguments Tuesday over its service that gives subscribers in 11 U.S. cities access to television programs on their laptop computers, smartphones and other portable devices.

The broadcasters say Aereo is essentially stealing their programming by taking free television signals from the airwaves and sending them over the Internet without paying redistribution fees. Those fees, increasingly important to the broadcasters, were estimated at $3.3 billion last year.

The case involving Internet innovation is the latest for justices who sometimes seem to struggle to stay abreast of technological changes.

Broadcasters including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS sued Aereo for copyright infringement, saying Aereo should pay for redistributing the programming the same way cable and satellite systems do. Some networks have said they will consider abandoning free over-the-air broadcasting if they lose at the Supreme Court.

Aereo founder and CEO Chet Kanojia recently told The Associated Press that broadcasters can't stand in the way of innovation, saying, "the Internet is happening to everybody, whether you like it or not." Aereo, backed by billionaire Barry Diller, has plans to more than double the number of cities it serves, although the high court could put a major hurdle in the company's path if it sides with the broadcasters.

Aereo's service starts at $8 a month and is available in New York, Boston, Houston and Atlanta, among others. Subscribers get about two dozen local over-the-air stations, plus the Bloomberg TV financial channel.

In the New York market, Aereo has a data centre in Brooklyn with thousands of dime-size antennas. When a subscriber wants to watch a show live or record it, the company temporarily assigns the customer an antenna and transmits the program over the Internet to the subscriber's laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device.

The antenna is only used by one subscriber at a time, and Aereo says that's much like the situation at home, where a viewer uses a personal antenna to watch over-the-air broadcasts for free.

The broadcasters and their backers argue that Aereo's competitive advantage lies not in its product, but in avoiding paying for it.

The federal appeals court in New York ruled that Aereo did not violate the copyrights of broadcasters with its service, but a similar service has been blocked by judges in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said its ruling stemmed from a 2008 decision in which it held that Cablevision Systems Corp. could offer a remote digital video recording service without paying additional licensing fees to broadcasters because each playback transmission was made to a single subscriber using a single unique copy produced by that subscriber. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal from movie studios, TV networks and cable TV companies.

In the Aereo case, a dissenting judge said his court's decision would eviscerate copyright law. Judge Denny Chin called Aereo's setup a sham and said the individual antennas are a "Rube Goldberg-like contrivance" — an overly complicated device that accomplishes a simple task in a confusing way — that exists for the sole purpose of evading copyright law.

___

The case is ABC v. Aereo, 13-461.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

25007


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14673.48+37.521
S&P CDNX676.81+9.70
DJIA17164.95-251.90
Nasdaq4635.24-48.167
S&P 5001994.99-26.26
CDN Dollar0.7856-0.0067
Gold1286.60-5.10
Oil49.60+3.16
Lumber322.50+0.70
Natural Gas2.87-0.111

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.120.00
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.400.00
Cantex0.035-0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.174-0.006
Metalex Ventures0.040.00
Russel Metals23.42-0.16
Copper Mountain Mining0.99+0.01
Colorado Resources0.150.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.01+0.0031
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.050.00
Mission Ready Services0.2350.00

 



24356

FEATURED Property
19920601908 Begbie Road
5 bedrooms 6 baths
$1,178,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Leaving a job: changing careers

Many people, who find themselves out of work and with time on their hands, and money in their pockets due to lay-off, start thinking about a career change. If you weren’t happy with the directio...


Service fit makes happy employees

Finding the right employees for the front lines of your company is key to developing a great service attitude within your company. It is just as important as hiring the right accountant, manager, sale...


How to price: workbook approach

In 2008 Self Counsel Press published my book - Pricing Strategies for Small Business. The book is now available in Europe, India, Russia and the United States. The purpose of the book was to make avai...

_








Member of BC Press Council


24681