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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo Streaming Service

Unknown Lamer posted about a month ago | from the tiny-antennas-not-tiny-enough dept.

The Courts 484

New submitter Last_Available_Usern (756093) writes that the Aereo saga is likely over. "The U.S. Supreme Court today dealt a potentially fatal blow to Aereo, an Internet service that allows customers to watch broadcast TV programs on mobile devices by renting a small DVR and antennas (in supported cities) to record and then retransmit local programming on-demand over the internet." Ruling (PDF). Aereo was found to be publicly transmitting, according to SCOTUSBlog "The essence of the Aereo ruling is that Aereo is equivalent to a cable company, not merely an equipment provider."

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484 comments

One disturbing bit: (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a month ago | (#47314967)

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, stressed that it was a limited decision that will not “discourage the emergence or use of different kinds of technologies.”

...and he's certain of that - how?

Re:One disturbing bit: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315133)

Because he's a Supreme and you are... sitting in your mom's basement?

Re:One disturbing bit: (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a month ago | (#47315393)

His black robe doesn't allow him to alter the natural laws of the universe or the basic principle that a rule once made applies to EVERYONE.

Declaring that a file transferred to a single person constitutes a "public performance" applies to EVERYONE.

That's the way the law works.

That's what Aereo was depending on. They exploited the rules created by another SCOTUS precedent. They abided by those rules.

The lower courts will apply this rule. It will have to be litigated all the way to the supremes before they can declare that some rule doesn't apply to a particular person.

Re:One disturbing bit: (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47315135)

Three options :
A - By divine revelation.
B - By using his time machine.
C - He isn't certain, but doesn't care.

I've personally decided to believe B because I'm a optimistic atheist.

Re:One disturbing bit: (5, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | about a month ago | (#47315189)

D - The court actually does mean for the ruling to be narrow; does not see this case as setting a strong precedent and will grant certiorari for what might otherwise be seen as similar media delivery technology cases

Re:One disturbing bit: (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47315251)

I was trying to stick to options within the realm of probability, albeit thinly.

Re:One disturbing bit: (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a month ago | (#47315331)

And SCOTUS 2: Justices In Time was a pretty good movie.

Re:One disturbing bit: (1)

eclectro (227083) | about a month ago | (#47315157)

...and he's certain of that - how?

Transistors keep getting smaller and technology will get better as time goes on. Even if it is not the form Aereo envisioned here.

Re:One disturbing bit: (4, Interesting)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about a month ago | (#47315177)

He's not: "As Stephen Breyer, one of the Supreme Court justices, said in this week’s hearing, “What disturbs me is I don’t understand what the decision for you or against you is going to do to all kinds of other technologies.” [economist.com]

It seems to me that judges should be ruling based on the law, not perceived ancillary social influences. That's why we have three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial. Legislative makes the law, and judicial merely determines if actions are legal or not legal? Quaint, no?

Re:One disturbing bit: (5, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a month ago | (#47315305)

The supreme court is different. They're supposed to look at issues and decide if this is how our country was supposed to work. If certain actions criminalize a religion without just cause (i.e. the criminalized set of acts is representative of a harmless behavior, or a set of non-criminal acts that only happen under this religion in this way), the Supreme Court may interpret not only that religion is a shield (i.e. Peyote for shaman religions), but also that the law has no other reasonable purpose and is thus wholly invalid so it can fuck off.

That doesn't mean they always do a good job of it; I only intend that the supreme court is tasked with interpreting the standing of the law itself as well as the standing of the law against a person.

Re:One disturbing bit: (2)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about a month ago | (#47315493)

If certain actions criminalize a religion without just cause (i.e. the criminalized set of acts is representative of a harmless behavior, or a set of non-criminal acts that only happen under this religion in this way)

It seems to me that if a reasonable interpretation of a law leads to negative unintended consequences, it then becomes the legislative branch's duty to rectify it, not the judicial branch's. Creating an incoherent ruling merely to achieve a desired social outcome severely undercuts the separation of powers, it seems to me.

Re:One disturbing bit: (4, Insightful)

hendrips (2722525) | about a month ago | (#47315217)

He almost certainly means that from a strictly legal standpoint, rather than as a general statement. It's somewhat common for the Supreme Court to put a disclaimer in an opinion stating that the opinion was so narrowly focused that it shouldn't be used as a precedent in other seemingly analogous cases. Presumably, this comment is more of a command to the lower courts, rather than a prediction of the future.

So, if Company X wants to start a business that is similar to, but not exactly the same as, Aereo's business, any legal challenge against Company X would still have to be upheld on its own merit. Challengers couldn't cite this Aereo decision as legally relevant.

Now, whether this ruling will have chilling effects, other than its legal precedent, is a different question.

Re:One disturbing bit: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315295)

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, stressed that it was a limited decision that will not “discourage the emergence or use of different kinds of technologies.”

...and he's certain of that - how?

Obviously because he knows what's best for us.

He's a "liberal"/"progressive" (read: statist) who thinks it's OK for governments to take private property from one person and give it to another:

Kelo v. City of New London [wikipedia.org] .

Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)[1] was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner...

But it turned out like this:

the private developer was unable to obtain financing and abandoned the redevelopment project, leaving the land as an empty lot, which was eventually turned into a temporary dump.

Yay.

Because we need more government to fix our bad government.

PS - how about that single-payer health care system known as the VA? Seen the latest? 1,000+ deaths. Yep. We need more government.

Re:One disturbing bit: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315489)

See the for profit health care system? Waaaay the hell more than 10,000+ deaths. Yep

This now requires (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47314971)

a constitutional amendment, which will never pass.

I love when the Supreme Court is technically inept, which is itself the worst kind of inept.

Re:This now requires (5, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about a month ago | (#47315031)

No, nothing about this ruling was based on the constitution. It was ruling whether or not Aereo fell under the provisions of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, specifically the provisions requiring cable TV system operators to pay broadcasters to carry those channels.

Fixing this would simply require an amendment to that act.

Re:This now requires (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a month ago | (#47315321)

And "cable TV" suddenly somehow means "any moving pictures transmitted over any metallic wiring?

Re:This now requires (5, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | about a month ago | (#47315397)

Actually, it was more based on the amendments the Congress made to the Copyright Act in 1976, to overturn two previous Supreme Court decisions (Fortnightly and Teleprompter). The Court had ruled that CATV (Community Antenna Television, which is exactly what it sounds like, put up one big antenna, and run coax from there to people's houses; it was used to get signal to areas that couldn't get good broadcast quality) was outside the scope of the Copyright Act, and Congress changed the law to clarify that it was.

In Aereo, the Court ruled that Aereo was largely similar to those CATV operators - it took the broadcast signal off the air and distributed it to multiple viewers, essentially simultaneous.y.

Re:This now requires (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315465)

Fixing and "Simply" should never be used in the same sentence with reference to the completely worthless United States Congress.

Wrong decision (5, Interesting)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month ago | (#47314975)

If it requires a login/password and a user account, how is that "publicly transmitting"?

Would the judge also declare that when I'm watching Netflix via wi-fi, I'm also "publicly transmitting"?

Re:Wrong decision (0, Offtopic)

alkaloid (456651) | about a month ago | (#47314997)

No, because Netflix is paying beaucoup dollars to content providers. Follow the money, as they say.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

DewDude (537374) | about a month ago | (#47315007)

A judge ruled...over a year ago, that it wasn't. However, the TV networks didn't agree with that; they didn't want it to exist AT ALL. So, they used their clout to get it declared illegal. This wasn't a "decision" by the Supreme Court....there was no reason for this. The networks didn't want it; they got it stopped; so they did.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315105)

over a year ago

Try "over decades ago"

CATV got its start by installing antennas on mountains and running wires down into the valley so Communities that couldn't get a signal had Access to TeleVision. Laws got passed specifically covering "operating an antenna for other people". Surprise surprise, these laws apply when Aereo operates an antenna for other people "on the internet".

Re:Wrong decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315227)

and where is the cloud DVR in this?

i can understand if aero did a simple retransmission of the signal, but the cloud DVR is clearly against the law.
i grew up with broadcast TV and aereo is nothing like it

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315023)

No, Netflix is publically transmitting, which is why they need (and have) retransmission licenses. Aereo wanted to dodge paying for those licenses using a legal argument slightly less specious than "I am not a citizen of the US, I am a citizen of Ohio, and also one of the signatures on the 16th Amendment has a smudge on it, so income tax is unconstitutional!"

Re:Wrong decision (3, Interesting)

Bartles (1198017) | about a month ago | (#47315155)

That must be why Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissented.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

gnupun (752725) | about a month ago | (#47315047)

If it requires a login/password and a user account, how is that "publicly transmitting"?

Aren't Aereo antennas storing TV signal content on servers and retransmitting/uploading that content to multiple members of the public? That's what's prohibited by copyright law, according to the broadcasters.

Would the judge also declare that when I'm watching Netflix via wi-fi, I'm also "publicly transmitting"?

What if the content were encrypted so only you can watch it? Would it still be public transmission? Cable TV shows are being broadcast to all cable subscribers, but you get to view the channel only if have subscribed (and paid for) it.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a month ago | (#47315121)

My understanding was 1 antennae per customer.

Re:Wrong decision (3, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a month ago | (#47315229)

More at the Cable companies have agreed to pay the broadcasters for a per subscriber fee to license those broadcasts. Apparently Aereo was not. Netflix has reached an agreement with content providers to provider broadcast over the internet and has the rights to do so.

Aereo apparently did not.

Now if you stream netflix to your computer, then say put a webcam in front to record and then stream to people via a 3rd party site, then you'd be publically broadcasting.

When you watch netflix on your device over wifi you are simply consuming...

Re:Wrong decision (5, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a month ago | (#47315349)

Imagine you rent an apartment in San Francisco, hook your DVR up to the antenna, and set up Internet to watch it from New York.

Now imagine you rent that DVR from an electronics rental company.

Now imagine you also get an account with LogMeIn as your access method to your DVR.

Now imagine the landlord, the electronics rental company, and LogMeIn are all the same company.

That's Aereo.

Re:Wrong decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315485)

Aren't Aereo antennas storing TV signal content on servers and retransmitting/uploading that content to multiple members of the public?

The key is that they do not really retransmit the signal to "multiple members of the public" as you say. Each person rents their own antenna, it just happens to be located remotely instead of on your house. Also each person records their own shows with that one antenna and only they can access that recording. Once again it's just like having a DVR like a Tivo in your home, except it also happens to be located remotely at a data center likely stored on some sort of large SAN for cost savings.

Thereby they are just providing a hardware renting service combined with a bit of a Netflix like streaming service where you are renting hardware and they do no such rebroadcasting of one stream to multiple members the public, it's just to be more efficient(cut costs) and provide nice features like streaming to mobile devices everything is done remotely. You could pay a few hundred dollars and set up exactly what they do at your house with your own hardware and still be perfectly legal.

In contrast cable companies like Comcast take 1 stream of a channel and literally rebroadcast it to hundreds or more of their subscribers.

Given the facts I have a hard time believing the giant cable companies and broadcast companies had no influence on this decision whatsoever. Even if it was just Comcast alone they already probably pay millions of dollars for lobbying.

I ask is it still legal to record your own copy over the air waves and then upload it to say Dropbox and then download it again to yourself? In essence Dropbox would be streaming you your own copy of a broadcast show no differently than Aereo.

Re:Wrong decision (2)

compro01 (777531) | about a month ago | (#47315057)

Blame Congress [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Wrong decision (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a month ago | (#47315059)

Wouldn't the ruling also make cable boxes illegal, too?

The cable network is a public network in the sense that hundreds or thousands of people are on that network.

Re:Wrong decision (3, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a month ago | (#47315183)

Yes, but your cable company has a license from the content providers to transmit those channels to you. My understanding is that Aereo did not.

Re:Wrong decision (4, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month ago | (#47315249)

Wouldn't the ruling also make cable boxes illegal, too?

The cable network is a public network in the sense that hundreds or thousands of people are on that network.

Uh, no... The ruling simply says Areo is operating a cable service and is thus required to obtain rights to retransmit the material (by paying fees). The cable company has already obtained retransmit rights (and paid the necessary fees) and thus can place their box in your home.

In short, Areo is governed by the SAME laws and rules as the cable company.

Re:Wrong decision (0)

bl968 (190792) | about a month ago | (#47315167)

Cause they know that the NSA is watching

Re:Wrong decision (5, Informative)

RealGene (1025017) | about a month ago | (#47315283)

Scalia agrees with you:

"Unlike video-on-demand services, Aereo does not provide a prearranged assortment of movies and television shows. Rather, it assigns each subscriber an antenna that — like a library card — can be used to obtain whatever broadcasts are freely available. Some of those broadcasts are copyrighted; others are in the public domain. The key point is that subscribers call all the shots: Aereo’s automated system does not relay any program, copyrighted or not, until a subscriber selects the program and tells Aereo to relay it."

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a month ago | (#47315333)

If your Dish Network receiver requires a decryption key card, how is that publicly transmitting?

Re:Wrong decision (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a month ago | (#47315369)

Are all the decryption key cards the same?

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Megane (129182) | about a month ago | (#47315451)

Netflix isn't "publicly transmitting" broadcast television, which is what Aereo did. Cable TV companies have to pay for the right to carry local TV channels that are otherwise freely available over-the-air to individuals with antennas.

Re:Wrong decision (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about a month ago | (#47315455)

If it requires a login/password and a user account, how is that "publicly transmitting"?

Public meaning anyone can sign up to and access the service.

Would the judge also declare that when I'm watching Netflix via wi-fi, I'm also "publicly transmitting"?

Probably yes, whether it's wifi or two tin cans and a string. But, unlike Aereo, Netflix has purchased licenses to allow them to do so.

misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315005)

This is why justices should have a personal understanding, at least on a cursory level, of modern day tech. I've read what aereo does. It's in no way a retransmission of anything. They maintain equipment and make sure you have access to it and they work as a dvr service, period.

Re: misunderstanding of the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315027)

The power to destroy does not require the ability to understand. Why bother learning about something you can easily kill with no consequences to you?

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (2)

TWX (665546) | about a month ago | (#47315101)

Or perhaps the defendant should have hired an attorney that's best able to explain the nature of the technology.

I'm thinking that the definition of "retransmit" isn't so much to do with UHF/VHF, as it is to record someone else's copyrighted content and to then play it back.

What I find most annoying is that it would cost a whole lot less for centralized storage of content instead of putting full DVRs in everyones' homes, and instead using what amounts to a thin-client to display that content. Granted, this means that control of the content is somewhat taken away from subscribers, but since the overwhelming majority of users of DVRs get them from their cable providers anyway and already really have very little control over the DVRs, the only real difference would be that the same TV programs wouldn't be stored millions of times, they'd be stored only a handful of times.

Some day maybe I'll get that mythtv box running, so then I can store locally and can control what I record/save, but on the other hand, maybe it's just better to turn off the TV and go do something else.

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a month ago | (#47315327)

"retransmit" means exactly that. Previously it was via radio waves, but now it's through the internet. Technology changed, but the spirit of the law did not. Whether it goes through the air or over a "series of tubes" is irrelevant: it's still retransmitting without a license from the copyright holders.

Cable companies pay a license per subscriber. Netflix pays a license for streaming rights as does Amazon. That's why they are allowed to show copyrighted materials. Aereo apparently did not.

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about a month ago | (#47315147)

It's in no way a retransmission of anything

What else do you call saving a copy of a television show then sending it to me via the internet? My TiVo doesn't retransmit, it saves a local copy of the television show, recorded from the antenna that I maintain. I'm hard pressed to see how the argument that Aereo doesn't retransmit flies from a technical or legal standpoint.

My reaction to this ruling was to breathe a sigh of relief, because the likely consequence to an Aereo victory was the continued erosion of original content on OTA. That business model is hard enough to maintain as is with ad revenue. In the long term I think it's quite probably going to fail, and we'll be left with PBS and re-runs, but I'd prefer that it at least have a fighting chance without freeloaders reselling it for profit.

You want OTA? Put up a bloody antenna. It's not that hard.

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

heezer7 (708308) | about a month ago | (#47315197)

So storing it and resending it over IP is different than storing it and resending it over HDMI?

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315319)

I think the difference is that the TiVo is owned by the viewer and is on their premises, the Aero recorder is owned by Aero and is on their premises.

I don't like the decision, but there is a difference.

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about a month ago | (#47315325)

Bad analogy. A better one would be running an HDMI cable to your neighbor's house, charging him a fee for the privilege, then rinse and repeating until you had a nationwide for-profit business. Nobody gives a shit what you do with the received signal within the confines of your own home. They care when you start trying to profit off it.

You'll note that TiVo hasn't successfully been sued, so it's not as though there isn't a way to make money designing products that interface with OTA TV.

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a month ago | (#47315471)

No. A better analogy would be transmitting a recording from one Tivo in your house to another.

This ruling potentially makes a whole-home PVR illegal.

Forget about streaming from that Tivo to your tablet while you're on the road. That will likely be "very illegal".

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a month ago | (#47315285)

You want OTA? Put up a bloody antenna. It's not that hard.

Can I put one up at your house and then just stream it over the internet to mine? Oh wait...

Re:misunderstanding of the internet? (1)

psm321 (450181) | about a month ago | (#47315377)

My reaction to this ruling was to breathe a sigh of relief, because the likely consequence to an Aereo victory was the continued erosion of original content on OTA. That business model is hard enough to maintain as is with ad revenue.

Just like all the content companies were going to stop putting anything on the air without mandatory enforcement of the broadcast flag, right?

Yeesh. (0)

neiras (723124) | about a month ago | (#47315009)

America gets it wrong, yet again.

Re:Yeesh. (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a month ago | (#47315169)

At least Scalia, Thomas, and Alito got it right.

Re:Yeesh. (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a month ago | (#47315299)

At least Scalia, Thomas, and Alito got it right.

Sure, but they're unpopular politically.

Re:Yeesh. (0)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about a month ago | (#47315343)

At least Scalia, Thomas, and Alito got it right.

Words never before said in the English language.

The Nest: We Have Assumed Control . . . (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315015)

. . . whether you like it or not!

Technology has been impinging on far too many aspects of our lives, and one place where you have to be careful is the automated home. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I prefer physical controls over virtual ones. This is especially true when it comes to turning off the lights in the kitchen.

My home doesn't need automation. If there was a robot that would straighten out my office and vacuum rugs and dust and re-arrange the bookshelves, then I'd be all in. As long as the device wasn't hooked to the Internet to be reprogrammed by some misanthropic engineer who would find it amusing to have the robot trash the house.

There is no such robot and none on the horizon, nor any free lunches, not even at Google.

Opinions The Internet is part of the problem. In the case of home automation, it is particularly frightening. You know that once an automation system is established and can be operated remotely online, then someone will hack the system and make a lot of people miserable.

Ever since Google bought Nest, this is the first thing I think of.

This week at Google I/O, the company might brag about Nest, and show some fakakta Web interface to turn off lights you may have left on. These devices will be hooked to Google Central so your habits can be studied. Thus you can be delivered targeted advertising.

You all know what targeted advertising is, right? It's those genius ads that show up all over the place trying to sell you a product you already bought. Yeah, those ads.

I have toyed with various attempts at home automation since before the X10 standard. It's always been about spending dollars to save pennies. The Nest Thermostat is a classic example. It is indeed a cool product that is nothing more than a remotely programmable on-off switch that costs $250. If China decided to produce the same thing, it would be $20.

The idea is that you can program it and it can learn and it can maximize energy and save money and save the environment and on and on. It's also cool looking and shows that you are a conspicuous consumer for owning one. Only geeks will program them to any extreme and the real amount of money saved will be nil. At the end of the day it's just another over-priced, cool-looking gizmo for bored geeks who will claim they actually "love" the device.

This is just the beginning for Google, though. The real target is the full home automation market, which does indeed exist. It targets large unmanageable McMansions found in the suburbs of Dallas and Atlanta. You know, the palatial multi-story homes built in a subdivision on postage stamp sized lots. You generally fly over them while landing at the airport and wonder who in their right minds would buy a place like this.

Answer: home automation suckers.

Home automation has been around since 1975 yet has never become a mass market phenomenon. Frankly, this is because it is a pain in the arse. Companies like Google, whose executives live in a dream world of their own creation, tend to drift into thinking that everyone wants this crap.

My home automation is more average and typical of the American public. It consists of yelling, "Hey, it's freezing in here, can someone turn on the heater?" That usually results in the other end of the transaction yelling, "Get up and turn it on yourself!"

This is real voice command and generally better understood than anything Google will develop. Other commands include. "Can't anyone turn off any lights in this house?" "Who left the water boiling on the stove?" "The dog needs food!" and the classic, "Did anyone get the mail?"

This is real home automation.

The real problem with all this Nest malarkey will come once these systems are on the net-the so-called "Internet of things." Once they start getting hacked there will be no stopping it. Nobody will be bothering to update the devices to block unwanted access-until they come home in the middle of summer with all the heaters on full blast, the lights flashing on and off, and the coffee pot on fire.

This is exactly where this all leads. And it only evolves to this because people are too lazy to get up and turn off some lights or set a thermostat.

Cut that cable, cut it now! (0)

Trachman (3499895) | about a month ago | (#47315019)

Heaven forbid the big 3 Luddite networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC go out of business, so people have to keep paying ridiculous fees for garbage channels? Big dinosaur companies still trying to be relevant with their outdated overpriced business structure. Big isp's getting paid by advertisers and being paid by subscribers, in my view, if someone subscribes to a service there should be ZERO advertisements. FCC and Supreme Court work hand in hand to stifle innovation and keep the fatcats of America in power. Here is the thing: SC can issue as many rulings as they want, the younger generation is not getting hooked on the cable as fast at someone might want to. This is the process that will only accelerate after the ruling, because wittier alternatives will pop up. In the future, ABC, CBS, NBC and others will be analyzing in the and will damn this date when they received what they think is a favorable ruling.

Well that sucks! (2)

CountZer0 (60549) | about a month ago | (#47315029)

Assuming this means Aereo will have to shut down now. That, or raise their rates if they have to start paying some sort of cable access fee.

As a cord-cutter, Aereo was a nice way to have access to some live broadcasts (sports, voting shows where the voting closes after the show airs, etc). Most of our consumption is delayed, so alternative downloading and a large NAS handles 95% of our needs.

Guess I'll have to figure out a way to get OTA reception, but from all the research I've done, where I live the signal's aren't very strong / reliable.

Re:Well that sucks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315221)

I've managed my own OTA streaming via an antenna on one of the towers at work to a HDHomeRun, I have a small server setup to transcode the live feed and a simple web interface to change the channel / view the stream on. It works well enough for me since I couldn't get any of the networks OTA at home.

Of course finding a place that works for you might be a bit more difficult but something like that can be done fairly easily. I was kind of hoping to move to Aereo if they got in to the Seattle market which is what I'm picking up right now about 75 miles away.

Predictable (3, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about a month ago | (#47315045)

While not the verdict I would have liked, this is not terribly surprising. Tech people often like latching on to literal interpretations, loopholes in language, or novel technological work arounds. However judges take into account the 'spirt' of the law, and are often interested in how something behaves or what it actually does as opposed to the technological implementation.

Regardless of the clever implementation, Aereo behaved like a subscription cable service. How it collected and stored programming was not relevant to this.

Re:Predictable (0)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month ago | (#47315153)

However judges take into account the 'spirt' of the law, and are often interested in how something behaves or what it actually does as opposed to the technological implementation.

And, by "the spirit of the law" you certainly mean "the demands of the highest bidding lobbyist".

Re:Predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315273)

which is why netflix is spending hundreds of millions of it's own $$$ to develop it's own shows. along with comcast and almost everyone else

Re:Predictable (4, Interesting)

am 2k (217885) | about a month ago | (#47315163)

So, why is the spirit of the law ignored when it comes to tax code? Why are there so many companies with their seat in places like the Cayman Islands or San Marino, while 99% of the work force is in other countries like the US or somewhere in the EU? They still don't have to pay any taxes.

Re:Predictable (1)

Vellmont (569020) | about a month ago | (#47315195)

I'd agree with you, except for two things.

1. The court agreed to hear the case. They don't agree to hear cases where the law is clear.
2. 3 justices dissented from the majority opinion. So they must have believed the spirit of the law rather than loopholes and literal interpretations gave some leeway to Aero. I didn't see any links to minority opinions, but reporting on Surpreme Court decisions is normally absolutely terrible. Hell, they didn't even report who dissented, which tells you a lot about the politics involved.

Re:Predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315339)

Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissenting.

Re:Predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315215)

Of course this all goes back to what Cable TV used to be, a method for people in areas with poor over the air reception to get broadcast shows. CATV stands for Community Antenna, not CAble and that is exactly what it was, a large antenna on top of a hill that everyone in the community could hook into. The more Aero acts like that, the more it will have to play by the same rules.

One remaining option for Aero is to behave like an equipment rental service. Rent consumers streams to the micro antennas and nothing more. If the consumers are running the DVR and display services on their own hardware Aero avoids the whole "acting like a cable company" problem.

Re:Predictable (1)

Hodr (219920) | about a month ago | (#47315225)

Oh come on now, if there is one place where "technically correct is the best kind of correct" it's the Federal court system.

Re:Predictable (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about a month ago | (#47315361)

Regardless of the clever implementation, Aereo behaved like a subscription cable service. How it collected and stored programming was not relevant to this.

Appearances can deceive: The elephant bird may have looked like an ostrich but it's not related to ostriches. It's actually related to kiwis. [nationalgeographic.com]

From the article: "Launched a year ago in New York and then extended to 10 other U.S. cities, it allows customers to watch over-the-air TV programs on a smartphone, tablet, or computer for as little as $8 a month."

Here's how Aereo [works | worked] [pcmag.com] . Redirecting a free over-the-air product over the web is a clever idea. It would seem to me that it would give advertisers a broader reach.

I don't think this tech is going to go away. This ruling merely consolidates the power of the existing media companies over the broadcast medium. Which, in my opinion, is regrettable. They already have too much power IMO.

Re:Predictable (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a month ago | (#47315475)

How is what they do any different than renting a DVR and antenna and installing them in your own home? Aereo offered an individual antenna for each customer, as well as data that was kept separate for each customer. The only thing different about it than standard equipment rentals was that they kept the devices at their location, rather than at yours, so the cable connecting you to your rented devices was a bit longer.

We already accept that equipment rentals are perfectly legal. Making the cable longer shouldn't magically make them illegal. That isn't a legal loophole or trying to rely on a literal interpretation. That's just common sense.

Zediva all over again. (2)

Deathlizard (115856) | about a month ago | (#47315053)

Figured this was going to be the outcome after Zediva Lost a few years back.

So apparently, if I VPN into my network using my cellphone, and watch my HDHomerun Prime I'm breaking the law.

Re:Zediva all over again. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a month ago | (#47315201)

So apparently, if I VPN into my network using my cellphone, and watch my HDHomerun Prime I'm breaking the law.

I take this to mean that the cable companies have decided any means of distribution they don't control is illegal.

I'm sure the cable company would make the argument, but since you're not a commercial service, their chance of knowing about it is slim to none.

Re:Zediva all over again. (1)

Hodr (219920) | about a month ago | (#47315243)

If you were renting that HDHomerun and antenna from a 3rd party.

Re:Zediva all over again. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315261)

No, it's not. Specifically, they ruled that it's a public performance because their business model was providing services to the general public, and they were not an analog of a equipment rental service, but a cloud service provider.

You using your own equipment to access your personal hardware and recording is permissable. Providing those recordings to the general public is not.

Re:Zediva all over again. (2)

Megane (129182) | about a month ago | (#47315389)

As someone else analogized it, Aereo was "operating an antenna for other people", which is what a cable company does. (it used to be all they did, before there were cable-only networks) Nobody else is providing you with the antenna to record broadcast TV. (Unless you're recording off of cable/sat, in which case the networks have already been paid off by your cable/sat company.)

DAR.fm vs Aereo (1)

nonsecurity (570950) | about a month ago | (#47315069)

It is interesting that DAR.fm (an online radio recording service) has survived legal challenges, but Aereo is now in jeopardy for a providing similar service for TV even though it uses antennas at customers' locations.

Television just died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315079)

The leap to the internet was just too much.

Zionist occupied government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315085)

I expected this decision.

This doesn't necessarly shut it down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315089)

They just have to change their model where the equipment including antenna goes to your house, then stored on local dvr or uploaded from there to their servers for you to access, then its basically the same thing as a VCR.

Re:This doesn't necessarly shut it down (1)

DewDude (537374) | about a month ago | (#47315111)

No. In order to do it now, Aereo will have to pay retransmission fees to the broadcasters. Broadcasters can either a) make this an insane amount they can't afford or b) refuse to negotiate. If they wanted to, as of right now; they could effectively force Aereo to turn the service off and to never return.

Re:This doesn't necessarly shut it down (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | about a month ago | (#47315315)

People that could receive OTA would not bother paying Aereo unless they wanted the option to watch elsewhere. Having the antennas somewhere with good reception was a huge plus, and the main reason I considered Aereo.

the censorial nature of genocidal deception (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315109)

what's good for the wmd on credit cabals (failed public communications) is good for all?

The leave me NO choice (0)

Natales (182136) | about a month ago | (#47315131)

I *want* to pay for a service like that. I'm eager to pay to watch what I like when I want it. But with decisions like that, they leave people like me NO choice but using "alternative" methods like Sickbeard [sickbeard.com] + SABnzbd [sabnzbd.org] , forcing me into the underground. These guys are so far behind the times it's like watching a 1950s movie. Term limits!

Re:The leave me NO choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315211)

huh?

1. If you had aereo, you were never paying content producers for the content.

2. Pay services exists for this already: Hulu+ is one example.

Re:The leave me NO choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315235)

SCOTUS judges do have term limits. Judges only serve 1 term.

Re:The leave me NO choice (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about a month ago | (#47315431)

No, they don't.

Re:The leave me NO choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315495)

SCOTUS judges are appointed once and serve until retirement. They are not elected. One lifelong term is still just one term.

Re:The leave me NO choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315307)

They have left you a choice: don't watch TV.

Re:The leave me NO choice (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about a month ago | (#47315453)

You certainly do have a choice. If you want the content live, Directv, Dish, your local cable company, or (depending on where you are) your local telco will happily provide it to you. You can also put up an antenna, and watch it for free. If you're OK with slightly delayed, then Hulu+ should get you a lot of what you're looking for. You have lots of choices.

Bloody Content Providers (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about a month ago | (#47315149)

I fail to understand how this is a violation of copyright if really what Aereo is doing is capture OTA signals and recording them for their users. I mean anyone can do that for their own personal use anyway! The signals are free right? Its not like they were unscrambling and distributing TWC or Comcast signals.

Remind my why they are being sued (3)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a month ago | (#47315151)

I've never understood why anyone would want to sue Aereo. They increase the transmission range of local broadcasts. They don't strip the ads, so the advertisers still profit. The stations get increased viewership, which they could as a selling point to advertises. "Hey, not only do we reach 50,000 people in this area, but Aereo increases that by another 10,000 people!" Why would a TV station complain if someone could increase their broadcast range without charging them anything for it? If the station wanted to do that themselves, they would have to buy towers, increase power, deal with FCC regs, etc. Aereo does it for free!

Re:Remind my why they are being sued (3, Insightful)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | about a month ago | (#47315231)

Because they were able to successfully extort cable companies for doing the same thing 50 years ago.

Re:Remind my why they are being sued (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about a month ago | (#47315253)

Because when (I think it was) CBS was in a dispute with the cable companies they didn't let their content be carried over the cable as leverage for insanely higher re-transmission fees. Some desirable sports are only shown on CBS. People got around the CBS action by receiving over-the-air broadcasts. Aereo let everybody in the country who wanted to put it to CBS. CBS didn't like that.

Re: Remind my why they are being sued (4, Informative)

VTBlue (600055) | about a month ago | (#47315275)

Most people think broadcasters still operate under an ad revenue model. This not true today. Cable retransmission deals is where the real money is. If broadcasters were limited to the old ad revenue model, the industry would implode.

Personally I think we should have the UK model with a TV license. The programming is far superior and enriching to the minds of the citizenry.

Re:Remind my why they are being sued (1)

Hodr (219920) | about a month ago | (#47315353)

You cant understand why CABLE companies might want to sue a company that increases the value and marketshare of OTA Networks?

Re:Remind my why they are being sued (1)

JTsyo (1338447) | about a month ago | (#47315357)

Currently cable companies pay the broadcasters to carry their channel. If Aereo was allowed people might cut out the cable company and just receive the programming for free. This would be lost revenue for the cable company and broadcasters. So instead of providing a competing product, they sue to keep their monopoly.

Re:Remind my why they are being sued (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a month ago | (#47315387)

The problem is permission. Copyrighted content can be publicly distributed only with permission of the holder. The local TV affiliates have copyright on their content and permission to broadcast other content like movies through licensing. This licensing applies to everyone from Hulu to Netflix. Aereo did not obtain any license. It does not matter if they increase the range or the number of viewers of the station. They didn't have permission to do so.

The question that SCOTUS had to determine is whether Aereo was privately or publicly broadcasting. Private recording is okay (Betamax). Private streaming is okay (Sling). SCOTUS has determined that Aereo was publicly broadcasting. I haven't read the full decision yet but that's what they decided.

Aereo is 1-to-1 (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about a month ago | (#47315219)

Cable is a one-to-many system.
Aereo is 1-to-1.
That is a Major difference.
It's not "streaming" to download your own data across the Internet.
The Supreme Court are a bunch of technologically backward morons!

Is It Retransmission...? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about a month ago | (#47315265)

Is it illegal retransmission for my stepson in New York to VCR a program and mail me the tape?
If no, then Aereo should be completely legal.

Words don't mean anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47315271)

Individual SSL connections are publicly transmitting. Plaintext wifi which can be picked up by any passing van, is private.

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