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Television Cloud The Courts

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

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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  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:39PM (#46825363) Homepage

    Just how many industries will we allow the content industry to ruin in its death throes before we finally get wiser?

    All of them.

    Technology is reaching the point where the content industries more or less have to give permission for everything it gets used for.

    And, anything which they interpret as cutting into their revenue stream or otherwise making it possible to copy something, is going to be vigorously fought by them.

    This is the buggy whip makers telling us that we need their permission to design highways. And innovation will suffer.

  • cant watch legally (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:42PM (#46825379)

    So, torrents win again?

  • Over the air (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cmdr-Absurd (780125) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:45PM (#46825413)
    (IANAL). I was quite surprised this even reached the high court. The broadcasters have a revenue model of paying by putting ads in front of eyeballs. This service arguably helps them meet that goal. Yes, I'm sure they'd like to double-dip and get paid for the "rebroadcast," but if you are giving your product away for free over the public airwaves, you should not be allowed to complain about where folks choose to locate their antennas. Be happy for the extra eyeballs.
  • Oh god yes!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:46PM (#46825423)

    Yes, please!! Please kill the cloud!!

  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:51PM (#46825481)

    People never wanted buggy whips. People wanted transport. Buggy whips were just a means to that end.

  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Altus (1034) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:52PM (#46825483) Homepage

    So what, cloud based DVR is not not acceptable? Why is time shifting OK in a box in my livingroom but not on a box at some hosting service? Does it matter if I own or rent the actual server that is being used for the time shifting? What is so important about the internet that it invalidates the rights we have elsewhere?

  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ravenscar (1662985) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:56PM (#46825531)

    Ahahahahaha! Are you joking? Comcast and Time Warner ARE content companies. That's the whole problem. Content providers should be completely separate from internet providers. When they aren't, the internet/content providers have incentive to make sure their content is unfairly promoted/protected on their networks. If you think Comcast/Time Warner will ever stand up to content companies I've got some wonderful property in the Everglades in which you might be interested.

  • Re:How many? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:58PM (#46825561)

    You focused too much on the using of the phrase 'buggy whip makers'

    The argument would be the same if the person before used 'car makers' in place of 'buggy whip makers'

    For example:

    All of them.

    Technology is reaching the point where the content industries more or less have to give permission for everything it gets used for.

    And, anything which they interpret as cutting into their revenue stream or otherwise making it possible to copy something, is going to be vigorously fought by them.

    This is the car makers telling us that we need their permission to design highways. And innovation will suffer.

    He's trying to say that the people who make content are also trying to control the methods of receiving that content. Not necessarily that the content itself is outmoded.

    Please understand the argument before criticizing it.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @12:59PM (#46825563) Homepage
    Some idiot decided that it was reasonable for people that broadcast their programing over the air for free to then charge other people to retransmit it.

    It was a bad law in the first place, poorly written, which let the networks charge money to cable people when their entire original business was charging advertisers and giving their stuff away for free.

    Suddenly you let them charge others for their stuff that they agreed to give away for free originally and this caused the problems.

    Aero are not doing anything wrong. The people doing wrong things are the over the air free TV networks that are charging.

    The real truth is that the over the air for free model is OUTDATED - just like the buggy whips. I know of nobody actually using the radio waves. They only work in small areas and are only profitable if there is a large population. But in those areas you get so much more from cable TV.

    In areas with less population, the over the air broadcasters are not profitable.

  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:07PM (#46825645) Homepage
    You are incorrectly confabulating broadcasting with content producing.

    It is not "content producers" that people don't want because guess what it isn't the content producers that are suing Aereo.

    Instead it is the over the air broadcasters that are suing and no one wants them. They are not all the producers and not all of them produce content Back before we had internet, cable TV, and satellite TV, actual over the air broadcasting made sense. But not any more.

    People do want the content - which is why content producers will continue to exist. People do NOT want to receive it by broadcast, which is why people want Aereo to take that junk off the air and put it on wires.

    Yes it is true that the broadcasters used to be wealthy and therefore bought up most (but not all) of the content producers. Now the broadcasters are going the way of the Buggy Whip. They may be able to survive as content producers, but only if they stop trying to marry their content production to their horrible, stupid delivery system that few people want and is only be propped up by out-dated laws.

    If they insist on sending their wonderful content out on horrible radiowaves, then they will have to do so a week after they offer them to cable operators (just like Hulu does with Hulu prime.). You want the stuff right away, pay for it. If you don't care, wait for for it.

  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:15PM (#46825723) Homepage

    Ah, yes, the stupid old 'buggy whip makers' argument.

    Yawn ... ah, yes, the it's stupid because I say so argument.

    Do you know the origins of the term? This [] might help:

    Marketing myopia is a term used in marketing as well as the title of an important marketing paper written by Theodore Levitt.[1] This paper was first published in 1960 in the Harvard Business Review, a journal of which he was an editor. Marketing Myopia suggests that businesses will do better in the end if they concentrate on meeting customers' needs rather than on selling products.

    The Myopic culture, Levitt postulated, would pave the way for a business to fail, due to the short-sighted mindset and illusion that a firm is in a so-called 'growth industry'. This belief leads to complacency and a loss of sight of what customers want.


    There is a greater scope of opportunities as the industry changes. It trains managers to look beyond their current business activities and think "outside the box". George Steiner (1979) is one of many in a long line of admirers who cite Levitt's famous example on transportation. If a buggy whip manufacturer in 1910 defined its business as the "transportation starter business," they might have been able to make the creative leap necessary to move into the automobile business when technological change demanded it

    So, how about this ... you refute the underlying thing meant when most of us say "buggy whips", and I won't tell you how little I care about how you feel about the specifics of the metaphor. Sound fair?

    The point is, in the face of technological changes and advancement, instead of understanding what it is people actually want and enabling it, these companies are demonstrating short-sightedness, an unwillingness to adapt their business model, and due to lobbying and other crap, exert an undue level of control over industries relating to technology which is both unwarranted, outdated, and has an overall detrimental effect on progress by people who don't have their heads up their asses.

    Now, if you have anything intelligent to add, I'm all ears. If you're going to simply dispute the metaphor keep it to yourself.

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

    by bws111 (1216812) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:19PM (#46825757)

    Well, he is entirely wrong if that is his argument. Aereo is not producing (or paying for) content, ABC is. Aereo is, in fact, entirely dependant on ABC et al, they just don't think they need to pay for that. Car makers, however, were in no way dependant on buggy whip makers - they were COMPETITORS. If Aereo wants to put ABC out of business by producing their own content and drawing viewers from ABC, ABC can't do anything about it. But as long as their model is 'bleed the host until it is dead', you can expect the host to put up a fight.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:29PM (#46825879)

    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.

    It's not just the antennae, Aereo keeps and transmits an individual copy of the show which owned specifically by the user requesting it. Unless Cable is going to set up a channel on the line for each and every subscriber, which can only be accessed by them and many of which will be duplications of each other, they don't have the same legal justification. Now, they could do it the same way Aereo does it, saving the shows for each customer and delivering it over an IP video stream, but they can't just broadcast it to all their subscribers as a single "channel".

    The fact that it's cheaper to create thousands of antennae and record thousands of hours of duplicated content and then deliver it using internet bandwidth rather than paying a fee to the providers and doing a simple broadcast says a lot about whats wrong with the content industry.

  • by PRMan (959735) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:37PM (#46825963)
    There's no difference functionally. The difference is legal. And now they are being crucified for attempting to comply with previous court decisions because by doing so they look "shady".
  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nyall (646782) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:44PM (#46826071) Homepage

    Does Aereo remove the advertisements those broadcasters placed into the stream? If not then how are they taking away a source of revenue?

  • Re:How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geminidomino (614729) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @01:52PM (#46826205) Journal

    the basic concept behind copyright law is in the Constitution - creators shall have exclusive right to their works... for a limited time, in exchange for releasing it into the public domain at the end of that period, for the enrichment of American culture


    Funny how so many people forget the more important second half.

  • by SemiChemE (3528759) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:05PM (#46826387)
    Digital signals do not transmit further than Analog signals! In fact, the range of a watchable signal is severely reduced. The clarity of the digital signal is significantly better and remains nearly perfect until the edge of the transmission range, but beyond that it completely degrades, whereas the analog signal is of poor quality, but still viable for many more miles.
  • by lgw (121541) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:32PM (#46826681) Journal

    I've rented an antenna on the roof before, publicly and commercially, with a really long antenna cable to my living room. The only difference here is "on the internet".

    Of course, Roberts may just decide its a tax, so who knows. It's not like these guys follow any basis in law or constitution these days.

  • When you're complaining about how the government helps their large donors get what they want, the words you're looking for are "Public Choice Economics", not "Free market!"

    A free market implies that the government minimally interferes in the market, just enough to set a level playing field, not that the government determines market outcomes at the behest of it's backers by killing competitors.

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