Sunday, December 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Justices rule for broadcasters in fight with Aereo

By
From page A10 | June 26, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a startup Internet company has to pay broadcasters when it takes television programs from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices.

The justices said by a 6-3 vote that Aereo Inc. is violating the broadcasters’ copyrights by taking the signals for free. The ruling preserves the ability of the television networks to collect huge fees from cable and satellite systems that transmit their programming.

Had services such as Aereo been allowed to operate without paying for the programming, more people might have ditched their cable services, meaning broadcasters would have been able to charge less for the right to transmit their programs.

Aereo looks a lot like a cable system, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court in rejecting the company’s attempts to distinguish itself from cable and satellite TV. “Aereo’s system is, for all practical purposes, identical to a cable system,” he said.

Aereo is available in New York, Boston, Houston and Atlanta among 11 metropolitan areas and uses thousands of dime-size antennas to capture television signals and transmit them to subscribers who pay as little as $8 a month for the service. Because each subscriber is temporarily assigned a dime-sized, individual antenna, Aereo had made the case that it wasn’t like a cable company and wasn’t doing anything customers couldn’t do on their own at home.

Breyer seemed to suggest the company was too-cute-by-half as he announced the opinion.

He laid out the company’s argument that its tiny antennae don’t really transmit to the public and then said, “Hmmm,” followed by a long pause. Then he added: “Well, we think that this argument makes too fine a point.”

Company executives and prominent investor Barry Diller have said their business model would not survive a loss at the Supreme Court.

Aereo chief executive Chet Kanojia called the decision “a massive setback for the American consumer” and said the company would continue to fight, without being specific.

“We’ve said all along that we worked diligently to create a technology that complies with the law, but today’s decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter. This sends a chilling message to the technology industry,” Kanojia said in a statement.

Some justices worried during arguments in April that a ruling for the broadcasters could also harm the burgeoning world of cloud computing, which gives users access to a vast online computer network that stores and processes information.

But Breyer said the court did not intend to call cloud computing into question.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented. Scalia said he shares the majority’s feeling that what Aereo is doing “ought not to be allowed.” But he said the court has distorted federal copyright law to forbid it.

Congress should decide whether the law “needs an upgrade,” Scalia said.

Broadcasters including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS sued Aereo for copyright infringement, saying Aereo should pay for redistributing the programming in the same way cable and satellite systems must or risk high-profile blackouts of channels that anger their subscribers.

The National Association of Broadcasters praised the court for rejecting Aereo’s argument that the lawsuit was an attack on innovation. “Broadcasters embrace innovation every day, as evidenced by our leadership in HDTV, social media, mobile apps, user-generated content, along with network TV backed ventures like Hulu,” NAB president Gordon Smith said.

The broadcasters and professional sports leagues also feared that nothing in the case would limit Aereo to local service. Major League Baseball and the National Football League have lucrative contracts with the television networks and closely guard the airing of their games. Aereo’s model would pose a threat if, say, a consumer in New York could watch NFL games from anywhere through his Aereo subscription.

The federal appeals court in New York ruled that Aereo did not violate the copyrights of broadcasters with its service, but a similar service has been blocked by judges in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said its ruling stemmed from a 2008 decision in which it held that Cablevision Systems Corp. could offer a remote digital video recording service without paying additional licensing fees to broadcasters because each playback transmission was made to a single subscriber using a single unique copy produced by that subscriber. The Supreme Court declined to review that ruling.

In the Aereo case, a dissenting judge said his court’s decision would eviscerate copyright law.

Judge Denny Chin called Aereo’s setup a sham and said the individual antennas are a “Rube Goldberg-like contrivance” — an overly complicated device that accomplishes a simple task in a confusing way — that exists for the sole purpose of evading copyright law.

Smaller cable companies, independent broadcasters and consumer groups backed Aereo, warning the court not to try to predict the future of television.

Indeed, Scalia himself noted that the high court came within a vote of declaring videocassette recorders “contraband” when it ruled 5-4 for Sony Corp. in a case over recordings of television programs 30 years ago.

The case is ABC v. Aereo, 13-461.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

New circulation director for Daily Republic has California roots

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suisun’s transformation launched 25 years ago

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
AARP tax program seeks volunteers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Holiday shopping continues after Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Kwanzaa educates, celebrates African-American heritage

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Rush Ranch plans birds of prey workshop

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Winter feeding of backyard birds

By Launa Herrmann | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

Weather for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Projects to watch in 2015

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

Market predictions for 2015

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
County graduates complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

Shoppers brawl inside Northern California mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 7 Comments

 
Death penalty states unmoved by botched execution

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Arizona police officer, suspect killed in shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
School error takes money from staff bank accounts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Protester in St. Louis area charged with arson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Spokesman: George H.W. Bush remains in hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 small planes collide in Maryland; no injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lava creeps 15 yards closer to Hawaii marketplace

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Drought, plastic bags prompt new California laws

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Del. WWII vet honored with medals 70 years later

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Snow, ice sweep Europe, stranding drivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
Families take future war dogs into homes as foster pups

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Woman uses quilt to help those in military

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Wanted extremist leader surrenders in Somalia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Pilot recalls last flight to Cyprus airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Redrawn districts made for some tight races

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Putin’s epic annual news conference, condensed

By Ishaan Tharoor | From Page: A8

Leaders fan flames of racial hatred

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 54 Comments

 
Sound Off: Dec. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Bethel Community Church buys Temple Baptist site

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Why do we celebrate Christmas, part two

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3, 2 Comments

Comforting immigrants is nun’s mission

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Pope’s role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My son’s cat is being neglected and I don’t know what to do

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Blagojevich brother: I was fed ‘pawn’ to get then-governor

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Company loses bid for rights to Marvel superheroes

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jonah Lehrer working on book about digital life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

No. 1 Kentucky holds off No. 4 Louisville 58-50

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vanden’s Koss named 2014 DR Male Athlete of the Year

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Broncos see a much better Raiders team this time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cardinals have hopes of division crown, 12 wins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors shake off skid, beat Timberwolves 110-97

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Authorities question Cubs’ Castro after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Browns suspend receiver Josh Gordon, Manziel late

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sports deaths: elegant Tony Gwynn, Jean Beliveau

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Cousins leads Kings past Knicks 135-129 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Anze Kopitar leads LA Kings past Sharks, 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sam: Coming out was right thing to do

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vikings stadium builders work on career highlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Devils replace DeBoer with 3-headed coaching staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Virginia Tech beats Cincy 33-17 in Military Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

S Carolina tops Miami 24-21 in Independence Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Arizona State beats Duke 36-31 in Sun Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Penn State tops Boston College 31-30 in OT in Pinstripe Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Kessler leads No. 24 USC to 45-42 win over Huskers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Jameis, Marcus and Mickey: Rose Bowl week starts at Disney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Bowling report for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

First Step seeks players, help for 2015 season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Devil Dawgs retiring after run of success

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

 
Top business stories of 2014: US grows, world slows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

BP appeals rejection of removing spill claims head

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Ruling opens door for cruise malpractice lawsuits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

6 US cities: Good jobs but hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

 
Why areas with good jobs have hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

US company to open tuna cannery in American Samoa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

 
.

Obituaries

Frances Cruz Pangelinan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Oriole Ernestine Cohen

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

John Benjamin Calvin Adams

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Rae Jean Malveaux

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Judy Zamora Rogers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Concordia Albang Lichauco

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
.

Secrets of Success 2014

120 Years: Fentons still a treat after all this time

By Susan Winlow | From Page: SOS2, 1 Comment | Gallery

80 Years: Gillespie’s adapts to meet customer needs, thrives

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS5 | Gallery

60 Years: Ryan’s Automotive hits milestone of service

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS6, 1 Comment | Gallery

55 Years: Mary’s Pizza Shack keeps dishing the pies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

50 Years: Cal Yee Farms marks half-century – and counting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

40 Years: Floors To Go weathers recession, bounces back strong

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS8 | Gallery

40 Years: Vaca Valley Auto Parts a Fairfield mainstay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS9 | Gallery

35 Years: Vogelpohl prides herself as problem solver

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Medic Ambulance rolling strong

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Scandia Family Fun Center roots run deep

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

30 Years: North Bay Pediatrics serves children, parents

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

35 Years: More than 1,700 home sales – and counting – for Watson

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

30 Years: Sportabout all about tennis – and shoes of all sorts

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

25 Years: It’s always showtime for Fairfield’s Finger

By Tony Wade | From Page: SOS12 | Gallery

25 Years: Feins helps build memories through Air Land & Sea Travel

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS13 | Gallery

20 Years: Quality breeds success for Universal Painting

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS14 | Gallery

10 Years: By the People helps with basic, complex legal issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: SOS15 | Gallery