EFF backs Aereo N.Y. TV service in appeals court

EFF backs Aereo N.Y. TV service in appeals court
EFF hopes appeals court will keep Aereo alive.

Aereo is a start-up service in the New York area that sends broadcast TV content to Internet-enabled devices like smartphones and tablets. Each subscriber of Aereo actually has control of a dime-sized antenna on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Aereo argues that its service is entirely legal since any U.S. citizen is entitled to use an antenna to receive broadcast TV signals.

Of course, Broadcast and TV networks certainly do not agree. Aereo was sued for copyright infringement by ABC, Fox, Univision, Disney, CBS, NBC, and PBS in March this year for not paying license fees.

The trial court declined to shut down Aereo during the lawsuit, and the broadcasters appealed. The appeals court must now decide whether Aereo can stay operating while the case proceeds. The EFF, along with Public Knowledge and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), filed a "friend of the court" brief, asking the court to side with Aereo.

"Just because Aereo's system sends TV signals to customers doesn't mean that Aereo needs permission from the broadcasters," said EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz.

"Personal TV transmissions don't violate copyright it's a private use that copyright law doesn't reach. This is just a craven attempt by TV executives to profit from technology that they didn't think of first."

Aereo has argued in court that it simply replaces the need for a customer to use their own antenna at home, while the networks argue Aereo is more like a cable system.

Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York had decided initially not to shut Aereo down, pending trial, and cited the case over Cablevision's "remote DVR" system in 2008, where Cablevision was found not to infringe copyright laws by providing customers with a remote DVR they could record content to and watch later.

Written by: James Delahunty @ 29 Oct 2012 19:50
EFF Aereo
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