Political Discussion: Aereo Case Granted A Writ Of Certiori

#1
The U.S. Supreme unexpectedly agreed to hear arguments from the big media networks versus a small upstart company Aereo, that "rents" tiny antennas to individual subscribers. The antennas are arranged in an array, increasing their power exponentially, then the signal is sent over the internet peer to peer, similar to a sling box operation. Aereo also sells PVR like functions in the cloud.

At present, the service is limited to people in the viewing area of each separate over-the-air broadcast market, but it normally includes network programming such as ABC, CBS, NBS, Fox and PBS. The future limits of the rebroadcast service may well be determined by the Supreme Court ruling.

So far Aereo has been successful in the courts, but the implications if this situation is allowed to continue, are incalculable -- and horrifying to over-the-air content providers. Their entire business model will crumble, and the cable companies themselves may have to jump on the Aereo band wagon. They may have to sell over-the-air rebroadcasts to their own internet subscribers.

Worst case scenario: all fees paid by cable companies to individual stations wither on the vine, the major networks have to move exclusively to the internet, and antenna sales plummet as virtually no content remains on the air via UHF or VHF.

What Aereo has done is find a tiny loophole in copyright law, and driven a Mac truck right through it. Will Congress jump in to fix their little mistake? Can Aereo match NBC, CBS, ABC and Comcast dollar for lobbying dollar? Stay tuned!

Supreme Court agrees to hear Aereo case | Internet & Media - CNET News
 

James

DTVUSA Member
#2
https://aereo.com/about

Wow-this thing is really interesting. I never saw anything about it until your post. I see it is coming to the Philadelphia area. I am a bit North but I shall keep an eye on this. I guess it makes sense when you think of the cloud, and sharing networks...but to actually implement it!
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#3
I tried Aereo here in Utah, where the service is available across the entire state.

Food for thought: all they are doing is renting out an antenna and sending the signal down the cable to you, right? But they are really re-encoding the signal and making it available over the internet one channel at a time. A "real" antenna that merely pushed the signal down a long cable would allow you to watch as many channels as you want at once.

Also, at what point does a "community antenna" like a shared antenna on a rooftop become a "Cable System"?
 
#4
The Supreme Court is moving fast on this one -- they are set to hear arguments in April! One correction: To prove that IANAL I copied a misprint from the original article. The phrase is "writ of certiorari."

Aereo could be deeply affected by another court case involving "internet neutrality," as explained here: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/internet-tv/53043-internet-neutrality-dead.html

Here's a nice article about the visionary working to make Aereo a reality throughout the nation: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/b...reo-seek-to-shake-up-television-industry.html

Rick
 

James

DTVUSA Member
#5
These are noob questions...but help me understand. I remember people asking "Who owns the internet?...or where is the office?" way back when I loved to say mysteriously..."its everywhere and nowhere...Bwaahaahhaa." But not so much anymore. So is there a way..pretending it to be in the US or even a state..or town for sake of argument...to have your own internet. In other words..is it possible for some entity to create a brand new internet? It seems like one could do it theoretically..to gain control...but once we hooked into the rest of the old net..things would get complicated.
 
#6
These are noob questions...but help me understand. I remember people asking "Who owns the internet?...or where is the office?" way back when I loved to say mysteriously..."its everywhere and nowhere...Bwaahaahhaa."
I vote for the first one. It's (almost) everywhere. It's definitely not nowhere. :becky:

So is there a way..pretending it to be in the US or even a state..or town for sake of argument...to have your own internet.
Well nobody owns it now. So if you make a new one -- talking a trillion or more dollars, I'm guessing -- you wouldn't own that either.

The internet is just a new form of communication. The communication goes between huge servers, owned by many different entities in nearly every large city. It travels via multiple paths -- the phone lines, cable, satellite -- so if one path breaks down, the signal (almost) always finds a way through. The communication protocol was created by the U.S. government (maybe Russia would dispute that, I'm not sure), then passed into the public domain for general use.

It was an idea that "just growed," like the slave girl in Uncle Tom's Cabin. But the total investment in all the servers by thousands of different companies adds up to billions and billions of dollars.

In other words..is it possible for some entity to create a brand new internet? It seems like one could do it theoretically..to gain control...but once we hooked into the rest of the old net..things would get complicated.
I can't see any economic incentive for any one company to try that.

Rick
 

James

DTVUSA Member
#7
Hmmm...I get all that. Could one say that P2P and torrents are almost like a sub-network..but you still have a Big brotha company controlling the gate..like Comcast, Verizon. So we have to go through some companies hardware just to enter the net. So it is not possible (or is it?) to kind of jump into the "web" and not be tied into a communications company subscription. Like an article I read about some of the Mexicans clamping into the power grid with lamp cord..to power a TV for a couple of hours.
 
#8
Hmmm...I get all that. Could one say that P2P and torrents are almost like a sub-network..but you still have a Big brotha company controlling the gate..like Comcast, Verizon. So we have to go through some companies hardware just to enter the net.
There are many companies controlling many gates. There are normally several "hops" between your computer and the target address. But there's usually one company controlling the first gate between your computer and the rest of the net.

So it is not possible (or is it?) to kind of jump into the "web" and not be tied into a communications company subscription.
Sure, there are ways. There was a thread here recently about a guy who wants to connect through a hospital close by with a strong WiFi signal. It's not very safe, if you do any business on the internet, because you're literally trusting everyone not to look at your passwords, etc.

Rick
 
#9
Aereo's Argument

Two weeks ago, Aereo filed its brief to the Supreme Court, laying out their side of the case. It makes for fascinating reading.

One thing I learned is that copyright law has nothing to do with retransmission fees! Most people think cable companies have to pay local stations a fee because "content providers" hold the copyright. Not true. The courts held repeatedly that no fees were required for any retransmission, because a rebroadcast of signals released to public airwaves is not a performance. Then congress stepped in and passed a special law that applies only to the cable companies and local stations. In that law, congress stated it was in no way changing federal copyright law, and the "prudent balance of interests" struck by the courts.

Aereo says they are not a cable company, since they transmit only to individuals, not the public. Therefore rebroadcast fees don't apply unless congress writes new law.

http://www-deadline-com.vimg.net/wp...ONSE-BRIEF-MARCH-26-2014-WM__140327015722.pdf

Rick
 
#11
That's pretty informative! Do you think Aero will win?
On the merits, after reading the brief, I think Aereo should win. Now, one thing that went uncontested was Aereo's assertion that the little dime sized antennas all operate independently. I think that's horse puckey, but theoretically the SC isn't supposed to look at it, if it's uncontested. (Recently, they broke that long standing rule, in perfect alignment with their reputation as an activist court.) They've also shown a marked tendency to bend the law in favor of the current administration -- which has come out with a friend of the court brief in favor of the networks, and now says they want to take over the prosecution!

So on the merits, I think Aereo should win. But because of politics -- fear of the Obama machine -- I think they'll lose.

If so, I think it will be great for consumers.
I watched some YouTube reviews of Aereo, and it reeeeealy LQQKS GQQD! If they win, Amazon and Verizon both put in tempting bids for the company. So if they win, there might be a 2 or 3 day window when subscribers should strongly consider snapping up the yearly contract.

Rick
 

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