Television broadcasters scored a huge win in their fight against the streaming service Aereo on Wednesday.
In a 6-3 decision, the court, led by Justice Stephen Breyer, ruled that Aereo publicly performed copyrighted work, and has deemed the service illegal. This comes just months after it was originally determined in lower courts that the service was legal, and wasn’t violating any copyright.
For those unfamiliar, Aereo was a streaming service that took local TV station signals, and converted them to digital feeds that could be viewed via an app on a smartphone, tablet or computer for as little as $8 per month. The plaintiffs in the case claimed that Aereo infringes on the 1976 Copyright Act, which requires a license for retransmission of programming. The fact that the broadcasters weren’t getting paid for their programming is what led to them to take this case to the Supreme Court.
With this new ruling, Aereo’s stance that it was created multiple individual performances of copyrighted work rather than a large public performance was rendered invalid.
Breyer, speaking on behalf of the court, state that the, “behind-the-scenes technological differences do not distinguish Aereo’s system from cable systems, which do publicly perform.”
He added that this decision against Aereo was a limited one, and is not intended to “discourage the emergence or use of different kinds of technologies.”
More to come…
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