Washington, D.C., partner Howard Liberman was quoted in the lead story of a recent issue of TV Technology. The article, titled, “Aereo Copyright Battle Expands,” discussed the year-old Internet streaming company Aereo and its impact on other broadcast companies. Aereo’s business model of grabbing over-the-air TV signals using dime-sized antennae and feeding them over IP, with access to DVR storage, raises copyright issues and has provoked many broadcasters who are worried about the potential loss of revenue.
A few broadcasters are attempting to “beat them at their own game” by accelerating their own plans to stream content on their respective websites. However, Aereo has plans not only to stream television content but also to add premium content, such as movies, and to do so at a very low cost. Their goal is to provide 50 percent of the cable value for one-tenth of the cost.
So far there has been a split in court decisions between New York and California regarding the legality of Aereo’s services.
Howard said he agreed that “the Aereo case faces a long legal process, possibly all the way to the Supreme Court, with the slight potential of congressional intervention along the way.”
Judge Deeny Chin, the dissenting judge at the appeals court, questioned whether Aereo’s collection of individual antennae creates a “dynamic” antenna. Howard noted that “[Chin] really understands the case; there is no technologically sound reason to use a multitude of tiny individual antennas rather than one central antenna.”
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