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Handicapping the Aereo vs. Broadcasters SCOTUS case

A decision by the Supreme Court in the case pitting Aereo against major broadcasters (CBS, FOXA, CMCSA, DIS) is expected to be announced next week. A check of the court's docket shows June 23, June 25, and June 26 as possible announcement dates.

If Aereo wins a favorable ruling from SCOTUS rapid expansion could be on tap, even though the start-up might still face a fight on Capitol Hill and with the FCC. Investments from media giants or P-E firms could push Aereo into dreamland.

The reaction from broadcasters to an Aereo win is hard to gauge, although the "nuclear option" of moving all content to cable has been thrown out by top execs.

If Aereo loses the company will likely go away. CEO Chet Kanojia has dismissed talk that paying broadcasters a carriage fee was an option.

Beyond the headline from the high court on Aereo, media attorneys will be busy looking at the nuts and bolts of the ruling. The legal precedent set in the case could guide how content is distributed and fees sliced up in the future.

The stock to watch: CBS has been tipped by analysts as the broadcaster which could see the most volatility as the ruling is dissected. Nomura is a buyer on weakness.

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Comments (12)
  • DrP79
    , contributor
    Comments (2308) | Send Message
    I think Aereo has a pretty good chance of victory. The same sort of thinking has been recently decided.


    Aereo designed their equipment to avoid directly infringement. Customers had to provide a key part and they did not directly infringe either. Only when both parts were used correctly did the equipment work as desired.




    Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc.
    Linked with Akamai Technologies, Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc.


    Where the Supreme Court ruled 9-0


    Holding: A defendant is not liable for inducing infringement under 35 U.S.C. ยง 271(b) when no one has directly infringed until Section 217(a)o or any other statutory provision.

    21 Jun 2014, 11:57 AM Reply Like
  • DISDIS631
    , contributor
    Comments (69) | Send Message
    To date, the SCOTUS has 10 cases left on the docket, to be decided.


    Let's hope HASTE doesn't make waste !
    21 Jun 2014, 01:03 PM Reply Like
  • Patent News
    , contributor
    Comments (1459) | Send Message
    how exactly does aereo infringe? does a tivo infringe by skipping over ads?
    21 Jun 2014, 01:34 PM Reply Like
  • DrP79
    , contributor
    Comments (2308) | Send Message
    Aereo would say that they did NOT infringe. In fact, they specifically designed their products to NOT infringe.


    The Chief Justice made a joke about crafty lawyers being careful about the definition of a given law. The joke was that everyone knew he was a master of the art of doing exactly that and won many a case himself at the Supreme Court before getting his appointment.
    21 Jun 2014, 02:22 PM Reply Like
  • serndipity
    , contributor
    Comments (193) | Send Message
    I cut the cable cord years ago, replacing it with an indoor antenna to directly receive over the air broadcasts. With digital TV, the HD reception is superior to cable (e.g. much less compression) and I have a choice of more than 50 channels (e.g. including the sub channels). In addition to CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, ION programing, this includes several 24x7 movie channels, 9 PBS channels, several kids channels, 5 retro TV program channels, etc.).


    The US Government set aside almost 200 MHz of prime VHF/UHF spectrum to the broadcasters for nada licensing cost (e.g. as a public service so that the broadcasters could inform the public in the event of emergencies etc.). They should be careful what they do (e.g. use it or loose it).


    Additionally, with more and more households cutting the cord on their ever growing expensive cable service and replacing their entertainment consumption with less expensive streaming or free over the air service, it seems to me that the broadcasters are being penny wise and dollar foolish (e.g. increased viewership means higher advertising revenues).
    21 Jun 2014, 04:37 PM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS
    , contributor
    Comments (3333) | Send Message
    If one actually breaks down what Aereo actually is,


    It is the technical equivalent as having a longer extension cord from your rooftop antennae. (At least from the end user perspective)


    Pretty much, not much more.


    The content owners should still get their money, as advertising just like with viewing with rabbit ears, is still in place.


    Since now that cable companies such as Comcast are also ISP's in most cases such as Comcast, I don't really see the big deal.


    It does put some viewing traffic in the pipe I suppose, vs traffic that would otherwise be limited to only RF transmission distance.


    If Aereo simply reported their user data to the ratings agencies, everybody should still get paid either way.


    While CBS might not get their fees directly from cable companies as a result of cable company royalties, it would just be shifted to other sources as I see it.
    21 Jun 2014, 06:33 PM Reply Like
  • omarbradley
    , contributor
    Comments (964) | Send Message
    The law is crystal clear: "single copies are allowed."


    I don't understand why the law as it already exists is illegal. Of course once the money is worthless then we need no longer concern ourselves with law i imagine.


    Well.."marital law" maybe.
    21 Jun 2014, 06:31 PM Reply Like
  • Tschurin
    , contributor
    Comments (386) | Send Message
    "the 'nuclear option' of moving all content to cable"?
    Does that mean that broadcasters would give up their license to broadcast on over-the-air channels?
    21 Jun 2014, 08:39 PM Reply Like
  • Patent News
    , contributor
    Comments (1459) | Send Message
    greedy idiotic broadcasters. good luck with the comcast merger. that should be blocked if they go 'nuclear'
    22 Jun 2014, 02:19 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4528) | Send Message
    If Aereo wins the most likely outcome is competitors popping up almost instantly.


    The biggest thing to watch will be for who brings out the competition. I'm betting Amazon integrates an aereo style service very quickly, into their FireTV product.


    The other likely outcome will be the carriers will start to pivot off their back foot to retake control of their content away from competitors like Aereo - but by the time they get it sorted the cat may wll be out of the bag.
    22 Jun 2014, 09:22 AM Reply Like
  • DrP79
    , contributor
    Comments (2308) | Send Message
    I was wrong. 6-3 against Aereo



    Breyer writes for the majority, Scalia dissents with Thomas and Alito


    The essence of the Aereo ruling is that Aereo is equivalent to a cable company, not merely an equipment provider.


    The Court goes out of its way to make clear that its ruling does not endanger other technologies.


    This ruling appears sweeping and definitive, determining that Aereo is illegal. -


    See more at:
    25 Jun 2014, 10:15 AM Reply Like
  • serndipity
    , contributor
    Comments (193) | Send Message
    So sad that the Supreme Court stepped beyond what the law said (e.g. the valid loophole Aereo found), to protect a monopolistic and anti-consumer industry against technological disruption.


    Actually, when the cable and satellite companies started, they were able to carry the OTA broadcast programming without paying a fee. Congress quickly changed the copyright law, which then required cable/satellite providers to pay a fee for carrying, otherwise free network broadcast programming (e.g. paid for by advertising).


    It's insane that US citizens should have to pay an additional fee, just because the signal gets routed through a wire instead of OTA.


    The amended copyright law that Congress enacted, should not exist. It's like paying (the broadcasters) twice for no value added the second time.


    Dollars to dougnuts, if the ruling had gone the other way, Congress would've just amended the copyright act again.........probably by the 6PM local news.
    25 Jun 2014, 06:39 PM Reply Like
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