02 March 2012

Dog Bites Man - Broadcasters Sue Aereo

Well, that didn't take long. Pioneering antenna-and-DVR-rental-Internet company Aereo's innovative service to rent a user their own antenna and DVR and send the broadcast signals to the user over the Internet has been sued (link to Engadget post) by the broadcasters (lotsa named plaintiff logos below!) whose distribution will be exploited / expanded / irreparably harmed by the service.

There's another suit by ABC, NBC and CBS, in case you thought they might feel differently.

Essentially the complaint by the broadcasters is that Aereo does not have the right to transmit their service over the Internet without their consent. Aereo sees their antenna rental approach as similar to Cablevision's successful network DVR case. The broadcasters seem to have skipped attacking the antenna-rental part of the Aereo service, which is pretty similar to the network DVR part of the Cablevision case, and focused on the converting-and-transmitting-that-antenna's-feed-over-the-Internet part, which is not quite akin to anything in the Cablevision case. (The network DVR transmitted content only on Cablevision's closed network and it was all content for which Cablevision had a license agreement already.) The transmitting-it-over-the-Internet part seems to be what tripped up Zediva in its DVD player-rental-Internet approach (and FilmOn.com and ivi.tv which, like Aereo transmitted broadcasters, but only had one antenna for all their users). For those who do not know, I am not a lawyer, just a practitioner in the field.
Aereo's logo looks a bit like a logo for a bandage to my eye

Links of interest:

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