TV-over-Internet service expands to SLC, other markets, despite lawsuits
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TV-over-Internet service expands to SLC, other markets, despite lawsuits


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  1. #1
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    TV-over-Internet service expands to SLC, other markets, despite lawsuits

    As posted on KSL 5's website:
    NEW YORK (AP) - The Barry Diller-backed Internet company that challenged cable and satellite TV services by offering inexpensive live television online plans to expand beyond New York City this spring.

    In the wake of a federal court ruling that tentatively endorsed its legality, Aereo will bring its $8-a-month service to Salt Lake City and 21 other markets in the U.S., as well as to New York's suburbs. For the past year, the service had been limited to New York City residents as the company fine-tuned its technology and awaited guidance on whether its unlicensed use of free, over-the-air broadcasts amounted to a copyright violation.
    A federal judge in New York ruled in July that the service doesn't appear to violate copyright law because individual subscribers are assigned their own, tiny antenna at Aereo's Brooklyn data center, making it analogous to the free signal a consumer would get with a regular antenna at home. Aereo spent the subsequent months selecting markets for expansion and renting space for new equipment in those cities.
    "The court decision was the green light in our perspective," CEO and founder Chet Kanojia said in a recent interview at Aereo's sparse offices in a former engine factory in Queens. "This is an opportunity of a lifetime to build up something meaningful to change how people access TV."
    Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. Past efforts have typically been rejected by courts as copyright violations. In Aereo's case, the judge accepted the company's legal reasoning, but with reluctance...
    Please read the full article here: TV-over-Internet service expands to SLC, other markets, despite lawsuits | ksl.com

    I see Aereo's legal position - they are renting antennas, not reselling content. Just consider how many people are unable, for whatever reason, to use an antenna to get local broadcast stations that they are legally entitled to get for free.
    If you're selling the program for a fee and not compensating the rights holder for that product, that's fundamentally unfair and violates the copyright law.
    –Dennis Wharton, NAB spokesman
    Sorry, Dennis. They are renting antennas, NOT selling programs. Wouldn't it be the same as me putting an antenna on my roof and "leasing" it to my next door neighbor? I usually agree with Dennis and the NAB, but not here.

    There is also an article at Mediapost.com that contains this quote from Judge John Gleeson:
    "You don't have all these little antennas because it makes any sense," he told Aereo's lawyer, according to the transcript. "It's kind of like constructing your business affairs to avoid taxes. Right?"

    MediaPost Publications Aereo Forges Ahead Despite Legal Battles, Practical Hurdles 01/09/2013
    In reference to the statement "It's kind of like constructing your business affairs to avoid taxes. Right?", I refer to this quote:
    “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.”
    Judge Learned Hand, federal appeals court judge, 1934.

    I think any station would jump at the chance to have someone provide a free translator for their station, thus increasing their audience. Why is providing a "translator" via internet that much different? Especially here in Utah, where one big stupid mountain can shut down any chance of OTA TV. I do think that providing a DVR service that stores all content on Aereo's servers certainly is a troubling aspect as far as copyrights is concerned, but that issue could be easily resolved by having users record content to their own individual computers.

    That said, I would still prefer to get my local TV stations OTA. OTA TV doesn't require me to pay for anything - not internet or "leasing an antenna". OTA doesn't have bandwidth caps, nor does it require me to have a computer or Roku box for each TV in my house.

  2. #2
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    The way I see it is that they are selling the content in the same way that cable/sat TV onsells any of the OTA and FTA stations that make up their channel listings. All either is doing, is transcoding it from ATSC (or DVB-S/S2 for FTA sat) to a different format for dissemination, yet cable/sat must pay, while Aereo attempts to do it for free.
    nbound-au is a qualified Antenna, Satellite, and MATV installer.

    I live in DVB-T land.


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    Quote Originally Posted by nbound-au View Post
    The way I see it is that they are selling the content in the same way that cable/sat TV onsells any of the OTA and FTA stations that make up their channel listings. All either is doing, is transcoding it from ATSC (or DVB-S/S2 for FTA sat) to a different format for dissemination, yet cable/sat must pay, while Aereo attempts to do it for free.
    Funny thing, cable TV started as a way to overcome reception problems, using similar model of retransmitting over a cable what came free Over-The-Air for a small fee to recover the cost of the service. It was referred to as a "community antenna" service, and broadcasters were not compensated for their content. In fact, they fought for "must carry" status Must-carry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

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    I assume those early community antenna systems merely redistributed the existing NTSC signal rather then transcoding/encrypting it for commercial purposes.
    nbound-au is a qualified Antenna, Satellite, and MATV installer.

    I live in DVB-T land.


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    Quote Originally Posted by nbound-au View Post
    The way I see it is that they are selling the content in the same way that cable/sat TV onsells any of the OTA and FTA stations that make up their channel listings. All either is doing, is transcoding it from ATSC (or DVB-S/S2 for FTA sat) to a different format for dissemination, yet cable/sat must pay, while Aereo attempts to do it for free.
    That's exactly why any paying should go from OTA station to cable/sat/et al.; never the other way around.

    Transcoding/encrypting the signal has no effect on the copied or uncopied status of the content. The fly in the ointment in copyright law is that courts have held single copies may be made and transmitted for individual use. For Aereo to lose, that will have to be reversed. And courts have a cussed hard time backtracking on precedent.

    Aereo isn't attempting to do it. They're doing it!

    R.

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    But that is the point of difference (basically)... US law requires (since 1996) "a person such as, but not limited to, a cable operator, a MMDS, a DBS service, or a TVRO satellite program distributor, who makes available for purchase, by subscribers or customers, multiple channels of video progamming" to obtain retransmission consent to carry their material (and may charge for that). [Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act]

    The previous community antenna example got around this because it may have been pre-1996 (quite likely). But the point I was trying to make is if you dont change the signal (ie. you just create a big MATV system), then you could theoretically argue that you are merely charging for rental/upkeep of the cabling/headend, rather then the content or anything else. (Its probably still a grey area though, I imagine many/all of these would have been gone by 1996 anyway).
    Last edited by nbound-au; 01-13-2013 at 04:13 AM.
    nbound-au is a qualified Antenna, Satellite, and MATV installer.

    I live in DVB-T land.


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    "makes available for purchase" sounds unconstitutionally vague. I don't know all the particulars of the courts' reasoning, but that would be one place to start.

    Doesn't matter. Courts have already held a slingbox can legally "make available" a rebroadcast -- and in a different form from the original RF signal. If you're expecting U.S. courts to follow the letter of the law, you must be from another country.

    R.

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    The Slingbox is a personal device with no subscription fee (its making somethign available, but you dont have to purchase it). Its just an automated way of you watching something you have personally recorded on your own DVR via the web. Aereo is redistributing a broadcasters signal to many customers and charging for it. Multiple antennas is an attempt to get around this, but I doubt it will succeed.
    Last edited by nbound-au; 01-13-2013 at 06:22 AM.
    nbound-au is a qualified Antenna, Satellite, and MATV installer.

    I live in DVB-T land.


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    Quote Originally Posted by nbound-au View Post
    The Slingbox is a personal device with no subscription fee (its making somethign available, but you dont have to purchase it).
    Of course, you have to purchase it! Just as you have to purchase the DVR. A subscription is merely a protracted, contracted way of making a purchase. There's no difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbound-au View Post
    Its just an automated way of you watching something you have personally recorded on your own DVR via the web. Aereo is redistributing a broadcasters signal to many customers and charging for it.
    They've sold lots of slingboxes and DVRs too.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbound-au View Post
    Multiple antennas is an attempt to get around this, but I doubt it will succeed.
    Too late. Already succeeding.

    R.

  10. #10
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    A subscription is merely a protracted, contracted way of making a purchase. There's no difference.
    The difference is - if at some point you stop paying for it, your cable goes away. THAT's a subscription, or a lease.

  11. #11
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    Too late. Already succeeding.

    R.
    Obviously... But that doesnt guarantee future operation.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrPogi View Post
    The difference is - if at some point you stop paying for it, your cable goes away. THAT's a subscription, or a lease.
    Indeed... With the slingbox, you dont pay for the content itself. Just the box.
    nbound-au is a qualified Antenna, Satellite, and MATV installer.

    I live in DVB-T land.


 

 

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