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PSA: Aereo to suspend service at 11:30 EST today

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#1 Hurmoth

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 13:47

Aereo to suspend service at 11:30 EST today

 

On the heels of its Supreme Court loss, Aereo has announced it will suspend service starting today at 11:30am, Eastern Standard Time. CEO Chet Kanojia announced the suspension in a letter to customers this morning, saying the service would be temporarily paused as the company consults with the court on possible next steps. All users will also receive a refund for their last paid month of service.

 
Kanoijia maintained his fundamental disagreement with the ruling, saying, "the spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud." Kanojia had said the company would "continue to fight for our customers," but most observers believe it will be untenable for the company to after losing such a central court battle.
 



#2 Rohdekill

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 14:10

Hate to disagree with him as I would have liked to have had a better alternative to cable if they ever came to my city, but what they were doing is completely illegal when you get down to the details.

 

They were collecting broadcast signals, which a broadcaster paid fees in order to broadcast.  They collected these and rebroadcast them to individual antennas - charging the customer, but not paying the broadcast fee.  That's the equivalent of me being handed a book someone bought, printing a million copies and keeping all the money from my sales without contributing to the author. 



#3 OP Hurmoth

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 14:16

Hate to disagree with him as I would have liked to have had a better alternative to cable if they ever came to my city, but what they were doing is completely illegal when you get down to the details.

 

They were collecting broadcast signals, which a broadcaster paid fees in order to broadcast.  They collected these and rebroadcast them to individual antennas - charging the customer, but not paying the broadcast fee.  That's the equivalent of me being handed a book someone bought, printing a million copies and keeping all the money from my sales without contributing to the author. 

That's not how Aereo worked.

 

Aereo didn't collect broadcast signals and send them to an antenna, they used antennas for each individual customer to collect free OTA signals. That's no different than if I had an antenna in my home connected to my TV, only in Aereo's case, they weren't connecting it to your TV, but to any and all devices you wanted.

 

The comparison to buying a book and printing a million copies is completely wrong. It is more like you bought a million copies of that book and scanned it into a computer and let those who wanted to read it, read it.

 

In Aereo's case, they were using a legal signal that is free OTA, and giving each customer their own antenna to obtain said legal signal and allowing those customers to control the TV experience wherever, whenever they wanted.

 

Absolutely nothing illegal about that.



#4 Rohdekill

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 14:43

Absolutely nothing illegal about that.

 

Perfectly legal, yet the service has a court order to cease.  I'm sure they tried the same argument in their day in court.

 

Per your own words "they used antennas for each individual customer to collect free OTA signals. ...in Aereo's case, they weren't connecting it to your TV, but to any and all devices you wanted."   - It is ILLEGAL to re-broadcast a signal which someone paid to broadcast (which is free ONLY to receive), charge people, and don't pay a re-broadcast fee or receive permission from the original broadcaster.



#5 OP Hurmoth

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 14:52

Perfectly legal, yet the service has a court order to cease.  I'm sure they tried the same argument in their day in court.

 

Per your own words "they used antennas for each individual customer to collect free OTA signals. ...in Aereo's case, they weren't connecting it to your TV, but to any and all devices you wanted."   - It is ILLEGAL to re-broadcast a signal which someone paid to broadcast (which is free ONLY to receive), charge people, and don't pay a re-broadcast fee or receive permission from the original broadcaster.

I see don't see how that is illegal. Read the Court's dissenting opinion from Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito. They understood what Aereo was doing.

 

How is what Aereo is doing any different than what I can do in my own home?

 

If I go out and buy an antenna, I am legally allowed to obtain those exact same signals for free. I don't have to pay a dime except for the antenna. In Aereo's case, all that is different is that the antenna is remote from me, but I am still paying only for the antenna (renting in this case) and for the service of them holding files on a server. I can still legally do that in my own home (see Slingbox, Simple.tv, etc.).

 

Just because SCOTUS rules a way doesn't mean they're right, look at the terrible decision that is Citizens United v. FEC. They may have ruled a certain way, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with their opinion and Congress can and should rewrite the Copyright Act so that is it more inclusive to new technologies that aren't infringing or public performances so that SCOTUS can and should overturn this horrible ruling.

 

This ruling hurts consumers and continues to promote big business' agenda over the consumer.



#6 vcfan

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 16:54

you're allowed to capture and view an OTA signal for private use. Aereo was capturing,then re-transmitting the signal for commercial purposes. Big difference.



#7 PGHammer

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 17:08

I see don't see how that is illegal. Read the Court's dissenting opinion from Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito. They understood what Aereo was doing.

 

How is what Aereo is doing any different than what I can do in my own home?

 

If I go out and buy an antenna, I am legally allowed to obtain those exact same signals for free. I don't have to pay a dime except for the antenna. In Aereo's case, all that is different is that the antenna is remote from me, but I am still paying only for the antenna (renting in this case) and for the service of them holding files on a server. I can still legally do that in my own home (see Slingbox, Simple.tv, etc.).

 

Just because SCOTUS rules a way doesn't mean they're right, look at the terrible decision that is Citizens United v. FEC. They may have ruled a certain way, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with their opinion and Congress can and should rewrite the Copyright Act so that is it more inclusive to new technologies that aren't infringing or public performances so that SCOTUS can and should overturn this horrible ruling.

 

This ruling hurts consumers and continues to promote big business' agenda over the consumer.

The issue with Citizens United is that it actually evened the playing field - pre-CU, liberal groups (such as unions) could bundle and run "issue" ads - however, groups opposing those views could not.  Notice that ALL the groups opposed to CU were beneficiaries from the environment pre-CU - therefore, they wouldn't exactly be happy with it.

 

While I am pro-consumer in temperament, it does the consumer a disservice to have a slanted playing field - even one supposedly slanted in their favor.

 

Yes - SCOTUS has been known to screw the pooch and make bad rulings - one more on point than CU was the Dred Scott decision; THAT one led darn near directly to the Civil War.



#8 OP Hurmoth

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 17:08

you're allowed to capture and view an OTA signal for private use. Aereo was capturing,then re-transmitting the signal for commercial purposes. Big difference.

They weren't retransmitting those signals though, not any differently than the way Slingbox does.

Slingbox allows you to retransmit the signal to your iPad or iPhone. How is that any different?

Aereo was taking the same signal and allowing you to view that signal via a tablet or Roku or whatever you wanted. There was no retransmitting.

#9 vcfan

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 17:31

They weren't retransmitting those signals though, not any differently than the way Slingbox does.

Slingbox allows you to retransmit the signal to your iPad or iPhone. How is that any different?

Aereo was taking the same signal and allowing you to view that signal via a tablet or Roku or whatever you wanted. There was no retransmitting.

 

they took the signal from the antenna,demodulated it,decoded it, re-encoded it and sent it over the internet. this is clearly a case of retransmitting the signal. NOW if they only transferred the raw, unfiltered and modulated 6Mhz signal to the customer, that would be a totally different scenario.

 

sling could also be in trouble,but then the networks would have to go after the end user, because it is the end user who is doing the retransmission of the signal, and its for private purposes too. sling merely sells the hardware,and if the networks bring the company down a similar path, sling just has to remove some features of the tv guide,and promote it as a device that retransmits video from video inputs. Who are the networks to say what video content the end user will be retransmitting? People can use the device for security monitoring for example.



#10 OP Hurmoth

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 18:07

they took the signal from the antenna,demodulated it,decoded it, re-encoded it and sent it over the internet. this is clearly a case of retransmitting the signal. NOW if they only transferred the raw, unfiltered and modulated 6Mhz signal to the customer, that would be a totally different scenario.

 

sling could also be in trouble,but then the networks would have to go after the end user, because it is the end user who is doing the retransmission of the signal, and its for private purposes too. sling merely sells the hardware,and if the networks bring the company down a similar path, sling just has to remove some features of the tv guide,and promote it as a device that retransmits video from video inputs. Who are the networks to say what video content the end user will be retransmitting? People can use the device for security monitoring for example.

I still don't see the difference from Aereo was doing to what I am legally able to do. The argument the broadcasters were making is that Aereo was retransmitting a public performance, not that they were just retransmitting.

 

Cablevision had a case in 2008 where users could record a show and store it in Cablevision's cloud service (Aereo's DVR service). SCOTUS ruled that this is not a public performance, stating it was a private performance because each subscriber controlled the experience (essentially each user possessed their own copy). This is the same as with Aereo, each subscriber got their own antenna, each subscriber got their own storage space, and each subscriber controlled the experience.

 

Retransmitting isn't the illegal part, it is the public versus private performance part of retransmitting under the Copyright Act. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Aereo and so did 3 Supreme Court justices. The issue is that 6 justices didn't understand Aereo's technology and in fact stated that the technology didn't even matter, it was their intent of getting around retransmission fees that mattered.

The Court ruled in Cablevision that because the devices recorded individual copies for each user, the defendant cable provider did not violate plaintiff Cartoon Network’s and other rights-holders’ exclusive § 106 rights to publicly perform their content. Ruling against Aereo’s preliminary injunction, the 2-1 majority of the panel held that the facts of Aereo were sufficiently similar to Cablevision for that precedent to control, stating that because Aereo streamed individual copies of programs to subscribers through individual antennas, the transmissions did not constitute “public performances” and thus the broadcasters’ copyright infringement claims were not likely to “prevail on the merits.” Aereo, slip op. at 33–34. Judge Chin dissented, claiming the facts in Aereo departed markedly from Cablevision, and thus Cablevision did not serve as a precedent. Aereo, slip op., 18–21 (Chin, J., dissenting).

 

I disagree vehemently! That sets a dangerous precedent for innovation. Aereo was specifically designed to stay within the boundaries of the law as it is written.

 

In a strong dissent, Justice Scalia (joined by Justices Thomas and Alito) took aim at the Court’s approach, asserting that it “distort[ed]” and “ben[t] and twist[ed]” the Act’s terms, and finding the approach ad hoc, too reliant on analogies to the function of other technological services, and highly unpredictable in its application.  While finding problems with Aereo, the dissent proposed that the Court should have looked at the question as one of direct versus secondary liability, a principle that arises from common law.  The approach – concerned about “the distinction between direct and secondary liability” – bears echoes of the Sony VCR case as well as what appeared to be motivating the Second Circuit in Cablevision (i.e., the analogy to the traditional DVR).  Yet the very language of Sony suggests that this is not the proper approach:  “As the District Court correctly observed, however, ‘the lines between direct infringement, contributory infringement and vicarious liability are not clearly drawn . . . .’”

 
Under the dissent’s framework, a bright-line rule would exist:  the party that “chooses the content” is the direct infringer.  In a conclusion reminiscent of the holdings in the congressionally overturned CATV cases, the dissent concluded that Aereo did not choose the content and therefore did not “perform.”  Rather, the subscribers do.  However, particularly in the context of the definition of “transmit,” analogizing Aereo to an ISP or stand-alone equipment provider arguably creates odd results:  by the same logic, someone who purchases a ticket to a stage play performs the play, and an entity that provides interactive radio streaming of thousands of songs performs while one that provides non-interactive radio streaming does not.
 
Activities that “ought not to be allowed” need not trouble interested parties, according to the dissent.  While the Copyright Act was clear that Aereo was legal, Aereo exploited what appeared to be a “‘loophole’ in the law.”  And, the dissent concluded, when “good lawyers [ ] identify and exploit [loopholes],” it is “the role of Congress to eliminate them if it wishes.”
 


#11 vcfan

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 20:51

snip


Well the court did find that Aereo was operating as if they were a cable provider, because they were retransmitting live copyrighted broadcasts to a large number of customers,and thus by law must pay retransmission fees. I think this is the difference between the earlier cases, where this wasn't established by the courts. The cablevision case then became irrelevant, because cablevision was already paying these retransmission fees. Aereo would have won, using the cablevision case as precedent, IF they were paying retransmission fees but were still sued. In fact, I think they can still operate if they pay these fees.

#12 OP Hurmoth

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Posted 28 June 2014 - 21:57

Well the court did find that Aereo was operating as if they were a cable provider, because they were retransmitting live copyrighted broadcasts to a large number of customers,and thus by law must pay retransmission fees. I think this is the difference between the earlier cases, where this wasn't established by the courts. The cablevision case then became irrelevant, because cablevision was already paying these retransmission fees. Aereo would have won, using the cablevision case as precedent, IF they were paying retransmission fees but were still sued. In fact, I think they can still operate if they pay these fees.

I think you completely missed my point of didn't bother reading my post. I know full well what the Court stated, that doesn't mean I have to agree with them. That's why I posted the quote from the dissenting opinion.

Retransmitting isn't the issue here, it is whether they are retransmitting a public vs private performance. See my previous post.

 

[edit] Also, retransmission fees aren't collected with free OTA signals, hence the free part. Again, see the dissenting opinion from Scalia.



#13 vcfan

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 00:14

I think you completely missed my point of didn't bother reading my post. I know full well what the Court stated, that doesn't mean I have to agree with them. That's why I posted the quote from the dissenting opinion.

Retransmitting isn't the issue here, it is whether they are retransmitting a public vs private performance. See my previous post.
 
[edit] Also, retransmission fees aren't collected with free OTA signals, hence the free part. Again, see the dissenting opinion from Scalia.


i didnt miss your point. i know full well what you are stating, but the case is different than the cablevision case. Aereos service has to do with transmitting live broadcasts, whereas the cablevision case has to do with transmitting DVR'd content. transmitting LIVE broadcasts is deemed by the courts to be operating as a cable provider,and they cite an earlier case as precedent. Is there any other case where this is shot down? The cablevision case doesn't apply here.

Im also quoting Scalia

The key phrase in the decision appears to be “contemporaneously visible,” a fancy way of saying “live.” It’s borrowed from an earlier copyright ruling by a US appeals court. The implication appears to be that Aereo could avoid being like a cable company if it simply didn’t offer the option to watch live TV. That’s how Scalia interprets it, at least: “Aereo would be free to do exactly what it is doing right now so long as it built mandatory time shifting into its ‘watch’ function.”

http://qz.com/223517...s-safe-for-now/

#14 OP Hurmoth

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 00:37

i didnt miss your point. i know full well what you are stating, but the case is different than the cablevision case. Aereos service has to do with transmitting live broadcasts, whereas the cablevision case has to do with transmitting DVR'd content. transmitting LIVE broadcasts is deemed by the courts to be operating as a cable provider,and they cite an earlier case as precedent. Is there any other case where this is shot down? The cablevision case doesn't apply here.

Im also quoting Scalia

http://qz.com/223517...s-safe-for-now/

You need to read Scalia's full dissent, not pick and chose what you want to quote from him.

 

What Scalia is saying there has nothing to do with my argument. Scalia is merely stating that Aereo could get around the majority's opinion by doing that, based on how the opinion was written. Meaning that the DVR function is safe under the law, but even that's not the point here.

As a side note though, by that same token pirating TV shows from those networks would be completely legal then. Except that crosses from private performance to public performance. Aereo would still be required to pay a licensing fee for those properties and become a Hulu competitor.

 

You are failing to address the key issue, what was actually argued and ruled on: public versus private performances. As I stated before, "Under the dissent’s framework, a bright-line rule would exist:  the party that 'chooses the content' is the direct infringer.  In a conclusion reminiscent of the holdings in the congressionally overturned CATV cases, the dissent concluded that Aereo did not choose the content and therefore did not 'perform.'"

 

Cablevision applies to the DVR-side. The live TV side SHOULD be protected by the free OTA laws. Again, as I've explained before, I view this as no different than me having an antenna and watching or recording what I want. In Aereo's case, the antenna is remote from where I am, but I am still in control of it, which is exactly what Scalia stated.

 

[edit] From TechCrunch (a terrific read):

 

Just like cable, Aereo lets you tune to your favorite show, watch it live, and record it to a DVR service. The process by which it achieves this is very different from the way that cable companies do it, however.

 
While cable companies are forced to pay for free content and then charge you for that free content, Aereo developed a way to let users rent a remote antenna, as well as subscribe to a cloud locker service to achieve the same effect. Both the antenna, and the DVR service are very legal.
 
But when combined, Aereo takes on the appearance of a cable company.
 
It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but it’s not a duck. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court was very focused on Aereo’s aviary appearance.
 
Within the opinion, the court even admits that Aereo’s method and technology for delivering content is very different from the cable companies. It also states that this difference (based around user involvement in the process of transmission) could be the saving grace for other technology providers, but not for Aereo.
 
This Court recognizes one particular difference between Aereo’s system and the cable systems at issue […]. The systems in those cases transmitted constantly, whereas Aereo’s system remains inert until a subscriber indicates that she wants to watch a program. In other cases involving different kinds of service or technology providers, a user’s involvement in the operation of the provider’s equipment and selection of the content transmitted may well bear on whether the provider performs within the meaning of the Act. But given Aereo’s overwhelming likeness to the cable companies targeted by the 1976 amendments, this sole technological difference between Aereo and traditional cable companies does not make a critical difference here
 
It just looks too damn much like a duck.
 
 
This goes to the heart of my point. SCOTUS was too focused on what Aereo looked like and not what it actually was. They ignored the key factors that make up what Aereo actually is. And that is a completely legal service under the law. They got it wrong.
 
From the dissent:
The Networks sued Aereo for several forms of copyright infringement, but we are here concerned with a single claim: that Aereo violates the Networks’ “exclusive righ[t]” to “perform” their programs “publicly.” 17 U. S. C. §106(4). That claim fails at the very outset because Aereo does not “perform” at all. The Court manages to reach the opposite conclusion only by disregarding widely accepted rules for service-provider liability and adopting in their place an improvised standard (“looks-like-cable-TV”) that will sow confusion for years to come.

Edited by Hurmoth, 29 June 2014 - 00:50.


#15 vcfan

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 01:43

snip


the mistake is thinking you are borrowing their antenna and in turn receiving that signal from the antenna. you arent. what you receive is a signal straight out of aereos encoder as i stated earlier.


U.S Copyright law

"(3) Cable system.— A “cable system” is a facility, located in any State, territory, trust territory, or possession of the United States, that in whole or in part receives signals transmitted or programs broadcast by one or more television broadcast stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, and makes secondary transmissions of such signals or programs by wires, cables, microwave, or other communications channels to subscribing members of the public who pay for such service."


The copyright law of the United States

 
aereo does exactly this. they receive a signal, re encode it, then send it over the network.  the court ruled they are a cable system, and under law,cable systems transmissions are public performances,and they must pay retransmission fees.