Sunday, April 07, 2013

Aereo wins legal battle in appeals court; its retransmission is not copyright infringement

There is some legal controversy over a service offered by a company called Aereo in New York City. The service would allow owners of Apple PC’s and smart phones to watch rebroadcast television shows on their devices, as explained on a Wiki here, , or at the company’s own link
Aereo has also won a legal battle in a federal appeals court in New York, Second Circuit, that its rebroadcast service does not constitute copyright infringement (technically, that a trial was not likely to go in the broadcasters' favor), even though broadcast networks earn revenue from licensing rebroadcast.  Brian Stelter has a story in the New York Times Monday, April  1, link here.
Aereo plans to expand to as many as twelve other cities. The customer acquires a small antenna to attach to his device.  The fact that a consumer has his or her own antenna somehow gets reflected in legal arguments that Aereo's business model does not violate copyright law. Cable channels pay to rebroadcast content but Aereo does not.  

Some networks, including Fox and even NBC, have said that they might stop conventional broadcasting and go to cable eventually in cities that offer Aereo or similar services.

Update: May 7:

Ars Technical reports that Aereo has launched a "pre-emptive" lawsuit against CBS, Joe Mullin, story here

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