Political Discussion: Lame Stream Media Strikes Again

Nearly all the headlines and stories blur an important distinction, and draw erroneous conclusions on the effect of Wednesday's Supreme Court Aereo decision. This is understandable in light of these news organizations' deep ties with the plaintiffs. One of the few articles that gets if right is entitled "The Aereo Decision Doesn’t Answer the Most Intriguing Question": Aereo Confusion

To summarize, the only immediate effect of the Supreme Court decision is that to continue operations, Aereo will have to file the proper form with the Copyright Office and pay the "compulsory license fee." This fee goes into a pool and is distributed by the government to legitimate copyright holders.

But the fee is pennies. It might add a quarter to the monthly cost of an Aereo subscription. This is not the same as the retransmission fees required by the 1992 Cable Act. That's why the network lawyers didn't want this result. They believe Aereo likely will NOT be required to pay the exorbitant retrans fees.

All retrans fees have to be individually negotiated with each local broadcaster, and since we know how those folks feel about Aereo, this could conceivably double or triple the price of admission, putting the final nail in Aereo's coffin.

But we don't know that yet. That remains to be determined by the lower courts in each Circuit.

What Aereo ought to do now is apply for the license they should have had from the beginning. They may be a "cable company" under the 1976 Copyright Act, yet still not qualify as a cable company under the '92 Cable Act, in which case the retrans fees don't apply. THAT is what the lower courts still need to decide, and THAT is why the case was remanded for further processing.



Aereo's management and lawyers must know (or think they know) something you don't, since the company decided to close up shop immediately rather than pay those "pennies".
More Opinions on the Aereo Case

- Why Aereo might also lose on the question of retransmission fees. Libertarian Professor Richard Epstein explains the "doctrine of equivalence;" thinks the Supreme Court got it right.: The Libertarian Podcast: Aereo and the Supreme Court | Ricochet
At 9:30 "Generally in intellectual property there's a whole variety of doctrines which are intended to make sure that people who consciously design their system in order to circumvent protected rights are treated with a certain degree of hostility."

- "... although the Supreme Court expressed its thinking on the law, it's the U.S. District Court in New York that must issue a preliminary injunction stopping the service, as requested by broadcasters." (C) 2014 Associated Press [Note: Even if the 2cnd Circuit Appeals Court reverses its previous ruling (it was not directed to do so) based on the Supreme Court's new findings, it will STILL only be to issue a preliminary injunction. "Our work is not done" - Kanojia]

- How Aereo's Supreme Court Loss Could Kick-start Innovation And Spur Online Piracy | ThinkProgress

- Fox uses Aereo ruling against Dish's streaming service -- Fox lawyer Richard Stone wrote in a court brief: “Dish, which engages in virtually identical conduct when it streams Fox’s programming to Dish subscribers over the internet – albeit also in violation of an express contractual prohibition – has repeatedly raised the same defenses as Aereo which have now been rejected by the supreme court.”

- http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/b...eos-rivals-in-tv-streaming-seize-opening.html “I don’t think you are going to find a silver bullet to disrupt the broadcast industry,” said Kenneth Lerer, a venture capitalist who has invested in a series of digital media start-ups. “I think you are going to find a lot of little bullets. Aereo was hoping it was a silver bullet.”

- But broadcasters won't be able to stop the trend toward legal and illegal "internet TV." About 101 million households in the United States subscribe to pay TV, down 7 percent from 2013, according to the research firm SNL Kagan. At the same time, the total number of households in the United States that use the Internet or other streaming services instead of traditional TV to watch television shows or movies has climbed to 7.6 million, up about 30 percent from 5.8 million in 2013. source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/b...eos-rivals-in-tv-streaming-seize-opening.html

Aereo's management and lawyers must know (or think they know) something you don't, since the company decided to close up shop immediately rather than pay those "pennies".
They didn't "close up shop," they merely hit the pause button. Also, I didn't say they would win at the lower court level. I just said the Supreme Court hasn't determined that yet, and the headlines are getting it wrong.

I'd hit the pause button too in their shoes. For one thing, they may lose all their funding. Don't underestimate the power of the lame stream media to strike fear in the hearts of investors.

Free Antennas to Former Aereo Subscribers!

Fresh off the major networks' Supreme Court victory over Aereo, the National Assn. of Broadcasters helpfully pointed Aereo's erstwhile customers to a special offer from Antennas Direct: a free rooftop TV antenna! That's a $130 value, yours (if you're one of the first 1,000 to submit an Aereo bill) for just $10 in shipping charges!
Read more here: Hey broadcasters, a free antenna isn't a replacement for Aereo****-****Los Angeles Times

The antenna is a ClearStream 2 Complete antenna with 30 feet of coaxial cable and a 20” J-Mount (MSRP $129.99). Offer is onlu good through July 6 or "while supplies last" so get a move on! You will need to apply and upload your bill here: www.antennasdirect.com/aereo.

Dear Aereo:

I have a solution that could allow you to use your high-tech infrastructure and stay in business, while remaining within the Supreme Court guidelines. The court was concerned that you "look like" a cable company to the consumer, since from the consumer's point of view, there's no difference in the experience of using Aereo versus a basic tier CATV package. The justices also expressed concern that you could broadcast signals from anywhere in the world to any subscriber, even though you don't currently do so.

Therefore, I suggest you address both those concerns.
1) Stop swapping antennas in and out on an ad hoc basis. Rent one specific antenna to each individual subscriber. Let a subscriber keep his or her antenna until the contract expires.
2) Stop offering the onscreen TV guide. Simply direct people to Titan TV and let them set up their own guides on a computer. Nearly everyone using Aereo has a computer connected to the broadband internet required for access.
3) To distance yourself even further from a cable company, consider discontinuing your cloud DVR service. Instead, you could write a software program that performs DVR functions on the computer, and sell it separately.

1) will make it impossible to send signals from anywhere in the world to any subscriber, and 2) will make the experience of using Aereo quite different from using basic tier CATV service, since the end user will need to set up and maintain his own TV guide. The optional DVR program would also work very differently from any CATV DVR currently in operation.

A Concerned Citizen

p.s. This was such a silly ruling, the plan above actually has some chance of success!
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