Court to rule on television over Internet service

Jan 10 2014, 3:28pm CST | by

Supreme Court to decide whether Aereo can offer online TV without paying broadcasters

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will decide whether a startup company can offer live television broadcasts over the Internet without paying fees to broadcasters.

The high court agreed on Friday to hear an appeal from television broadcast networks in their attempt to shut down Aereo Inc., which takes free signals from the airwaves and sends them over the Internet to paying subscribers.

Broadcasters have sued Aereo for copyright infringement. The big networks have supplemented their advertising revenue with fees from cable and satellite TV companies for redistributing their stations to subscribers. If customers drop their pay-TV service and use Aereo, broadcasters would lose some of that revenue.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year Aereo did not violate the copyrights of broadcasters with its service but a similar service has been blocked by other judges.

Aereo claims what it is doing is legal because it has thousands of tiny antennas at its data centers and assigns individual subscribers their own antenna. According to Aereo, that makes it akin to customers picking up free broadcast signals with a regular antenna at home.

Aereo's service starts at $8 a month and currently covers New York, Boston, Houston and Atlanta, among others. Subscribers get about two dozen local over-the-air stations, plus the Bloomberg TV financial channel.

"We believe that consumers have a right to use an antenna to access over-the-air television and to make personal recordings of those broadcasts," said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia. "The broadcasters are asking the Court to deny consumers the ability to use the cloud to access a more modern-day television antenna and DVR. If the broadcasters succeed, the consequences to consumers and the cloud industry are chilling."

Broadcasters have argued that the use of individual antennas is a mere technicality meant to circumvent copyright law and threatens their ability to produce marquee sports or awards show events, including the Academy Awards, the Grammys and the Super Bowl. CBS, Fox and Univision television networks are among those that say they might end their free broadcasts and become a subscription-only channel like CNN, Nickelodeon and Discovery if Aereo is successful.

This comes as Aereo announced Tuesday that it has secured $34 million in additional funding from outside investors to help it expand beyond the 10 metropolitan areas it currently serves. It will also allow Aereo to develop apps for additional devices, such as Internet-connected TVs and game consoles and battle copyright-infringement lawsuits filed by broadcasters like the one before the Supreme Court.

Justice Samuel Alito is not taking part in the Aereo arguments but the court did not give a reason.

The Aereo case was one of eight the court decided to grant Friday, most of which will be argued in April. Included in those are complaints by an anti-abortion group in Ohio over a state law that bars false statements about political candidates or ballot initiatives and a labelling dispute between POM Wonderful and the Coca-Cola Co. over a pomegranate- and blueberry-flavored drink made up almost entirely of apple and grape juices.

The court also said it will take up an aspect of the long-running fight between Argentina and hedge funds that are trying to collect a billion-dollar judgment on debts stemming from the country's 2001 crisis. The new case centers on efforts by the hedge funds to locate where Argentina keeps assets in banks in the U.S. and around the world. Argentina is appealing a lower court ruling upholding subpoenas issued to two banks in New York.

Source: AP Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

How genes affect Ebola patients
New York, Oct 31 (IANS) The Ebola virus affects different people differently, say researchers, adding that genetic factors could be behind this mild-to-deadly range of reactions to the virus.
 
 
Young heart can heal itself faster
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) The heart holds its own pool of immune cells capable of helping it to heal after injury, finds research, adding that the harmful immune cells from the bone marrow disrupts this process in adults.
 
 
Hubble captures 'ghost light' from dead galaxies
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) NASA's Hubble telescope has picked up the faint, ghostly glow of stars ejected from ancient galaxies that were gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago.
 
 
How to chequemate your creditor (The Funny Side)
Cheques are dying out, a report says. This is a tragic loss of an ancient Asian invention - so I learned from the new Museum of Accountancy in India. That country invented that form of promissory note way back in the Mauryan period (321 to 185 BC), when Westerners were still evolving from jelly-like invertebrates in warm ponds.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Norway to send troops to Iraq
Oslo, Oct 31 (IANS) Norway announced that it will send 120 soldiers to Iraq. The soldiers will not "be in direct combat with the forces of the Islamic State (IS). They shall, instead, assist with capacity building of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Four die as plane crashes into building in US
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) At least four people died when a small plane crashed into a building near the Wichita, Kansas, airport in the US, media reported. The preliminary death toll was confirmed by the Wichita...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Young heart can heal itself faster
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) The heart holds its own pool of immune cells capable of helping it to heal after injury, finds research, adding that the harmful immune cells from the bone marrow disrupts this process in...
Read more on Business Balla
 
German kidnapped in Nigeria rescued
Lagos, Oct 31 (IANS) A German national, who was abducted a week ago in Nigeria, has been "rescued", authorities confirmed. Ogun state police spokesperson Abimbola Oyeyemi said the hostage was "rescued" Thursday and...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Somalia's police chief is dead
Mogadishu, Oct 31 (IANS) Somalia's Police Commissioner General Mohamed Sheikh Hassan Ismail has died, officials said. A probe has been ordered into his death. The official unexpectedly fell and died in the course of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Hubble captures 'ghost light' from dead galaxies
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) NASA's Hubble telescope has picked up the faint, ghostly glow of stars ejected from ancient galaxies that were gravitationally ripped apart several billion years ago. By observing the light...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Jamaican discus thrower banned for two years
Monaco, Oct 31 (IANS/CMC) Jamaican discus thrower Traves Smikle has been suspended for two years for using a banned substance, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced. IAAF Thursday...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
How to chequemate your creditor (The Funny Side)
Cheques are dying out, a report says. This is a tragic loss of an ancient Asian invention - so I learned from the new Museum of Accountancy in India. That country invented that form of promissory note way back in the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
110 Mexican women pose nude for US photographer
San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) As many as 110 women posed nude as a group here for US photographer Spencer Tunick, who conducted a photo shoot with the theme of Mexico's Day of the Dead. With just a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Gibson appointed England bowling coach on temporary basis
London, Oct 31 (IANS/CMC) Former West Indies head coach Ottis Gibson has been appointed as a bowling coach for England on a temporary basis. Gibson will participate in a fast-bowling performance camp in South Africa...
Read more on Sport Balla