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Television Cloud The Courts

Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage 342

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the dedpuplication-considered-massively-infringing dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "Aereo is currently fighting for its life before the Supreme Court, and has issued a warning: if you take us down, you could take the entire cloud storage industry down with us. The company argues that they only provide customers with access to shows picked up by an individual antenna that they've rented. If the constitutes a 'public performance,' then so does the act of downloading a copyrighted document stored in a cloud storage service — even if the customer has purchased the right to use that document." v3rgEz sent in a link to the transcript of the first day of arguments.
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Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:54PM (#46825509)

    mp3.com stored a single copy of each song - and streamed copies of that shared song to users who had shown (by inserting a CD or buying the song from a mp3.com associate) that they owned it. While mp3.com claimed that they were protecting individual Fair Use (or was it First Sale?) rights, the technical point on which they were crucified was not the streaming to individual users, but the creation of the shared database (for their own commercial benefit).

    In the Aereo case, they are not taking the signals from a single shared antenna (or from a small group of shared antennas) and replicating them. That would open them to the sort of attack that destroyed mp3.com. Instead, Aereo is taking the technically-very-ugly, but legally-more-likely-to-be-sound approach of having huge farms of micro-antennas, and renting individual antennas to individual customers. It is the broadcast signals from the plaintiffs that are replicating the programs – same as if the broadcast signals hit an equivalent number of rabbit-ears antennas in an equivalent number of houses.

  • If Aereo wins, the cable companies would be able to save money by erecting Aereo-style antenna arrays for their cable feeds, bypassing payments to the networks.

    I doubt it, Aereo's legal position relies on one antenna per user. That also means one data stream per user.

    So switching to doing things aereo style would require a cable company to massively re-engineer things.

  • Re:How many? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:02PM (#46825599)

    How is that different than having your own antenna and recording to a DVR? The identical arguments can be made there.

    I'm an Aereo subscriber. Why? If I lived close enough to the city, I'd use an antenna and a DVR. But, there's a 3300' mountain between me and the city. I can't put an antenna up high enough that'll get even a single channel. Aereo can. I still watch their stupid ads, so the revenue model of the networks is unaffected.

  • by Chirs (87576) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:03PM (#46825607)

    One of the justices asked flat-out if there were technical advantages to having multiple antennas or if it was just a way to get around copyright, and the lawyer dodged the question.

    *Of course* the primary reason for having multiple antennas is copyright. It is exactly *because* they have multiple antennas that what they're doing is legal under current copyright law. By ducking and evading the question, the lawyer just looks shady.

    From a technical point of view they'd be far better off with a pair of redundant antennas, storing all the shows from all the channels (with deduplication), and then serving them to their subscribers on demand. But that's clearly not allowed under current law.

  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:21PM (#46825775)

    First, the primary networks are required, by law, to provide OTA service. They were also required to transmit in digital vs the older, analog signal. Supposedly, the digital signals can transmit further and can support error correction (to eliminate ghost images).

    As another poster noted, IF you are in range of to receive the OTA broadcast, the HD picture is of higher quality that what you would get via cable. Why? Cable network providers must compress the signal resulting in signal degradation. OTA can send the full, uncompressed digital signal. One of these days, I will have to see if I can receive the signal where I live...probably not.

  • Re:How many? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:39PM (#46826003)

    Aereo "leeches" off the broadcasters in *exactly* the same way that anyone else in the broadcast area with an antenna "leeches" off the broadcasters.

    If anything, Aereo is providing a service to the broadcasters by increasing the potential size of their respective audiences.

  • Re:How many? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Xenx (2211586) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:03PM (#46826365)
    ABC(and others) offer content effectively for free via local broadcast. Their profit comes from commercials. All Aereo is doing is providing the antenna and DVR capabilities over the internet, thus allowing you to view from alternative locations and devices. The users are paying a small premium to have the hardware, storage and upload bandwidth managed offsite. There is nothing about this setup that an individual couldn't do with their own equipment. Aereo isn't taking any more money from the content providers than any other DVR/VCR would.
  • by slinches (1540051) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:37PM (#46828415)

    As I understand it, Aereo geographically limits its service to the broadcast range of the transmission towers. Thus there is no programming made available to an Aereo customer that they couldn't legally receive by putting up their own antenna.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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