Official AEREO Discussion Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 593 Old 04-01-2013, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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From the HOTP thread courtesy of TVOD
U.S. Supreme Court Pulls the Plug on Aereo's Streaming TV Service
NBC News

The U.S. Supreme Court today dealt a potentially fatal blow to Aereo, an Internet service that allows customers to watch broadcast TV programs on mobile devices.

Launched a year ago in New York and then extended to ten other US cities, it allows customers to watch over-the-air TV programs on a smartphone, tablet, or computer for as little as eight dollars a month. Selections can be viewed live or recorded for later viewing.

Shortly after the service was launched, the nation's major broadcast networks filed a lawsuit claiming that Aereo illegally retransmited their programs without paying for them.


See full article here:
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/...ervice-n140486

below is the original first post of this thread -- Doc

================================================== =======================

Legal/Business Notes
Aereo Beats Broadcasters in Big Appellate Ruling
By Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter's 'Hollywood, Esq.' Blog - Apr. 1, 2013

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has handed TV broadcasters a devastating blow by determining that a federal judge properly declined to issue an injunction that would have shut down Aereo, the service that digitally transmits over-the-air TV signals to private customers.

According to Monday's ruling:

"We conclude that Aereo’s transmissions of unique copies of broadcast television programs created at its users’ requests and transmitted while the programs are still airing on broadcast television are not 'public performances' of the Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works under Cablevision. As such, Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that they are likely to prevail on the merits on this claim in their copyright infringement action. Nor have they demonstrated serious questions as to the merits and a balance of hardships that tips decidedly in their favor. We therefore affirm the order of the district court denying the Plaintiffs’ motion."

See full article here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr...pellate-431988

Last edited by CPanther95; 06-28-2014 at 08:53 AM.
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post #2 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 08:21 AM
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The logic baffles me.  Aereo isn't a threat to the broadcast networks but if anything a boon: it will get their content and their advertisers’ commercials out to more people.  Aereo is competition for cable and satellite providers, because customers interested only in broadcast fare but whose OTA reception is poor may quit them for Aereo.  Is there something I'm not seeing, or is there something Carey and Saban are imagining?
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post #3 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

The logic baffles me.  Aereo isn't a threat to the broadcast networks but if anything a boon: it will get their content and their advertisers’ commercials out to more people.  Aereo is competition for cable and satellite providers, because customers interested only in broadcast fare but whose OTA reception is poor may quit them for Aereo.  Is there something I'm not seeing, or is there something Carey and Saban are imagining?

But they are upset they don't get their retransmission fees.
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post #4 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by jabbathespud View Post

But they are upset they don't get their retransmission fees.
OK, that's a point.  But they don't get retransmission fees for OTA viewers either, so their complaint is based on potential loss of customers by cable and satellite companies, who themselves are not objecting.
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post #5 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by dattier View Post

But they don't get retransmission fees for OTA viewers either, so their complaint is based on potential loss of customers by cable and satellite companies, who themselves are not objecting.

By law broadcasters CAN ask for compensation for OTA. It is called subscription TV. Some stations in the 1970's tried it. They made more money via commercials. The issue with retrans is a third party is collecting something of value for free and then repackaging it and reselling it while not passing any compensation back to the original source.

How you like it you made a widget, gave it away and then you found someone selling the widget for profit. You would want your cut. This whole thing is that simple.
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post #6 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

How you like it you made a widget, gave it away and then you found someone selling the widget for profit. You would want your cut. This whole thing is that simple.

You got your cut when you took money to paint an ad on the widget. If that’s not enough for you, then don’t give away the widget.

Seriously, if you guys want so badly to be pay services, then become pay services already!

And PLEASE, leave the public airwaves for folks who actually WANT to provide a FREE – i.e. supported by ads only – service, consistent with the original intent of the frequency allotments.
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post #7 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joblo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

How you like it you made a widget, gave it away and then you found someone selling the widget for profit. You would want your cut. This whole thing is that simple.

You got your cut when you took money to paint an ad on the widget. If that’s not enough for you, then don’t give away the widget.

Seriously, if you guys want so badly to be pay services, then become pay services already!

And PLEASE, leave the public airwaves for folks who actually WANT to provide a FREE – i.e. supported by ads only – service, consistent with the original intent of the frequency allotments.

This is the same strawman argument you present every time. The courts disagree with you.

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post #8 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 02:18 PM
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BTW, is there any kind of a technical white paper describing exactly what Aereo is doing. I haven't been able to casually google up anything, but perhaps someone has run across something? Has anyone looked at the court filings to see if all the tech details are in them?

Personally, I find it hard to believe the claims of "every user is assigned their own antenna". The laws of electro-magnetics haven't been repealed, so a dime sized antenna in the VHF band (where the wavelengths are a hell-of-a-lot longer than a dime) is going to be a terrible performer. So unless they are sitting right next to the transmitter, my inclination is to call BS on that claim.

I'm guessing that it's actually a phased-array antenna made up of dime sized elements. Which means it's really just one big antenna so if you destroyed one dime sized element no single customer would lose their service as their claims of "one antenna per customer" would lead one to believe.

And even if the one antenna per customer claim is true, it's not like the antennas are directly coupled to the customer. The antenna is actually connected to an ATSC tuner in the Aereo facility where the broadcast is demodulated and (I'm guessing) transcoded to compress it down a bunch and then repacked in TCP/IP packets and finally modulated onto the internet. If transcoding and repacking doesn't qualify as "rebroadcasting" I can't imagine what it takes to rise to that level. But we are talking about the "legal" system which routinely makes up phony definitions to suit their purposes. So the broadcasters might be in trouble in this case.

But I am still curious about the tech details of what Aereo is actually doing if anyone has a source.
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post #9 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 03:44 PM
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I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for but it's all I found: http://www.decipher.co.uk/attachments/article/201/130225%20-%20Aereo%20fact%20sheet1.pdf

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post #10 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

If transcoding and repacking doesn't qualify as "rebroadcasting" I can't imagine what it takes to rise to that level.

I don’t think that is the issue. If the repacked/transcoded signal transmission is “private”, then it isn’t broadcasting, let alone rebroadcasting. At least that’s my understanding of the argument thus far.


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Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

This is the same strawman argument you present every time. The courts disagree with you.

The courts uphold the laws Congress passes. It was Congress who caved to broadcaster lobbying and allowed retrans consent.

The great fiction about retrans consent, really a fraud on the public enabled by Congress, is that retrans fees are paid by evil, nasty, secondary carriers, who would otherwise be getting something for nothing.

The reality is that retrans fees are inevitably passed on to subscribers. So it is viewers you are seeking to collect money from whenever someone comes up with a new way to receive and deliver your signal.

You see, if your business is about providing a free program service to the public, then all Aereo is doing is assisting that endeavor, at no charge to you, and you have no basis for complaint. You can only really object if your “free” service is like so many other “free” things – only on Thursday if you jumped though this hoop two Tuesdays before and that hoop the next day, and if nobody else is ahead of you in line, and the creek don’t rise.

And just so we’re clear, I make no claim that the public is entitled to free TV programming, from Fox or anyone else. Certainly, the 10% who only watch OTA have no right to free ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC programming subsidized by the other 90%, many of whom are not really interested in that programming anyway, but are forced to pay for it in order to get programming they do want, such as CNN, ESPN, HBO, etc.

All I ask is that broadcasters stop pretending they want to provide free service when clearly they want as many viewers as possible to pay.
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post #11 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joblo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

This is the same strawman argument you present every time. The courts disagree with you.

The courts uphold the laws Congress passes. It was Congress who caved to broadcaster lobbying and allowed retrans consent.

The great fiction about retrans consent, really a fraud on the public enabled by Congress, is that retrans fees are paid by evil, nasty, secondary carriers, who would otherwise be getting something for nothing.

Cry me a river.
Quote:
The reality is that retrans fees are inevitably passed on to subscribers. So it is viewers you are seeking to collect money from whenever someone comes up with a new way to receive and deliver your signal.

That is called capitalism. There is no law that says you HAVE to have a service provider. Antennas are available for free service. This has all been hashed out over the years. Nothing new here. Move along.

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post #12 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by joblo View Post

The reality is that retrans fees are inevitably passed on to subscribers. So it is viewers you are seeking to collect money from whenever someone comes up with a new way to receive and deliver your signal.

That is called capitalism. There is no law that says you HAVE to have a service provider.

Just like there is no law that says you HAVE to be a broadcaster. But if you want to be a broadcaster, then broadcast and stop whining. And stop threatening to take your act to cable whenever you don't get your way. Nobody is stopping you. Many of us wouldn't miss your OTA service the least little bit.

Quote:
Antennas are available for free service.

And Aereo is planning to make many of those available to many people, many of whom probably can't use their own due to terrain or other issues.

So what is your objection to that again?
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post #13 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joblo View Post

So what is your objection to that again?

It is a pay service that isn't paying for signals.

Back to normal topics.

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post #14 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

It is a pay service that isn't paying for signals.

Because, so far, the courts have not ruled that they have to. So evidently….

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

This has all been hashed out over the years. Nothing new here.

The courts disagree with you on this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

Back to normal topics.

Excellent idea.
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post #15 of 593 Old 04-09-2013, 10:22 PM
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In regards to Aero the local stations could easily put them out of business by adopting some sort of online live streaming. They could come up with some sort of IP address sorting scheme to keep things in-markets since that is SUCH a big thing for them, all the rest of us could care less. Personally i use an antenna with my D feed and refuse to watch my locals, they are simply inept. I watch the feed from Detroit, at least they get the audio in sync and in DD 5.1 on those stations.
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post #16 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 05:22 AM
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In regards to Aero the local stations could easily put them out of business by adopting some sort of online live streaming. They could come up with some sort of IP address sorting scheme to keep things in-markets since that is SUCH a big thing for them, all the rest of us could care less. Personally i use an antenna with my D feed and refuse to watch my locals, they are simply inept. I watch the feed from Detroit, at least they get the audio in sync and in DD 5.1 on those stations.

Since these companies are making money under the current system, they would rather cry than actually compete and make any changes.

Aereo is a lot like the Slingbox. Aereo provides an antenna for each customer and that signal is then sent to that customer via the internet. A bit different compared to what pay-tv providers do to get and distribute the signal. But then Fox is crying about Slingboxes too.
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post #17 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 05:43 AM
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I'm waiting for the NFL to get upset about this. Why pay for Sunday Ticket when you can get a buddy in your hometown to sign up for this?

I know I'd use my in-laws address and never miss another OU game. I'm paying for ESPN GamePlan for the ABC games that don't air here. Which is usually the ones I wanna watch.

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post #18 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 06:04 AM
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Why pay for Sunday Ticket when you can get a buddy in your hometown to sign up for this.

I was thinking that, too, but supposedly, Aereo will be checking IP addresses, so you'd need more than a buddy to sign up, you'd also need a local relay.

I'm more intrigued, though, by how the NFL might respond if FOX did leave OTA. I could see the NFL sticking with them, but I doubt the NFL would allow FOX to take the whole NFC to cable while the AFC remained OTA, so the game distribution between CBS and FOX would have to change.

Can you imagine the Dallas Cowboys ceding the Texas airwaves to the Houston Texans? Never gonna happen.

Nor do I see CBS following FOX to cable only distribution. Too much history and their audience skews too old.
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post #19 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nayan View Post

I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for but it's all I found: http://www.decipher.co.uk/attachments/article/201/130225%20-%20Aereo%20fact%20sheet1.pdf

Unfortunately, that doesn't include any actual technical details, which is what I'm looking for. But thanks for the effort.
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post #20 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 02:48 PM
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I'm waiting for the NFL to get upset about this. Why pay for Sunday Ticket when you can get a buddy in your hometown to sign up for this?

I know I'd use my in-laws address and never miss another OU game. I'm paying for ESPN GamePlan for the ABC games that don't air here. Which is usually the ones I wanna watch.

This, of course, is already possible by having your buddy set up an HTPC with a tuner and using VLC to restream the feed to you. Or by just buying a slingbox. The difference here being it's an actual corporation charging money for it and that constitutes a threat that can't be ignored, unlike the handful of buddies restreaming games to their friends for free.

But I think you are on to something here. I think the content owners, like the NFL, have a much better case against Aereo than the broadcasters do since Aereo hasn't paid for the rights to distribute that content.

AFA, Joblo's and apparently Aereo's contention that they don't have to pay because it's a "private" performance not a public broadcast, let's try this analogy...

Let's say someone opened a shop that was subdivided into tiny little rooms, each seating a single person and containing a single TV and then charged people to watch NFL games on their TVs. Hey, it's not a public performance and they are just "renting" the use of the TV for a couple of hours. Obviously, this has never been done because a shop in a seedy strip mall doesn't scale worth a fart. But, when you suddenly do a similar idea on the net, scaling is no longer an issue.

Before the Aereo cases, I was certain that the courts wouldn't have fallen for that argument. And I suspect that Aereo is eventually going to lose because a ruling in Aereo's favor has far sweeping consequences for all content providers and distributors, it's not just a threat to OTA broadcasters and the Supreme Court is probably not going to want to go there. But they are probably going to have to redefine what constitutes a public broadcast and what is still considered private and expand what constitutes being a broadcaster because in the age of the internet it's just way too easy to regurgitate content an on individual basis and claim that you don't need to pay for that content because it's wasn't a "public" broadcast.
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post #21 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac The Knife View Post

Before the Aereo cases, I was certain that the courts wouldn't have fallen for that argument. And I suspect that Aereo is eventually going to lose because a ruling in Aereo's favor has far sweeping consequences for all content providers and distributors, it's not just a threat to OTA broadcasters and the Supreme Court is probably not going to want to go there. But they are probably going to have to redefine what constitutes a public broadcast and what is still considered private and expand what constitutes being a broadcaster because in the age of the internet it's just way too easy to regurgitate content an on individual basis and claim that you don't need to pay for that content because it's wasn't a "public" broadcast.

If Aereo was re-transmitting local signals, then wouldn't that expand the reach of the network and local station's advertising? Wouldn't more eyeballs, even if they were delivered by Aereo, be a net positive even without compensation? Seems like all that needs to happen is for the broadcasters to get a cut. So negotiate one; problem solved. What am I missing?
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post #22 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 04:47 PM
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What am I missing?

Aereo doesn't want to play.

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post #23 of 593 Old 04-10-2013, 05:06 PM
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Aereo doesn't want to play.

No, it's because ota viewers don't pay re-trans fees. Why wouldn't the networks do something to prevent ota viewing from being easier? Shut down the cord-cutting movement before it gathers momentum. Aereo is just an excuse for them doing what they've been wanting to do. You notice that this was announced right after the "Zero tv" survey was released.
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post #24 of 593 Old 04-11-2013, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by mhufnagel View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

Aereo doesn't want to play.

No, it's because ota viewers don't pay re-trans fees.

As an Aereo sub, you don't pay the TV stations, you pay Aereo. Aereo pockets all the money. TV stations gets zip. Why is this so hard for people to understand that Aereo is taking something of value and reselling it and NOT sharing the proceeds with the originator? In any other instance this would be called stealing and all of you would be screaming it from the highest mountains. But since this is the evil, rich TV stations, outright thief is perfectly OK. It is STILL STEALING. Period.

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post #25 of 593 Old 04-11-2013, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

As an Aereo sub, you don't pay the TV stations, you pay Aereo. Aereo pockets all the money. TV stations gets zip. Why is this so hard for people to understand that Aereo is taking something of value and reselling it and NOT sharing the proceeds with the originator? In any other instance this would be called stealing and all of you would be screaming it from the highest mountains. But since this is the evil, rich TV stations, outright thief is perfectly OK. It is STILL STEALING. Period.

Aereo is using the Cablevision argument that they won for their remote DVR service. You are renting an antenna from them and paying them for a remote storage DVR. If they only had one antenna or access to any show at any time then their argument would fail, but the fact that they have many little antennas (still up for debate) and the recorded content is only available to you has made the courts agree with them so far.
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post #26 of 593 Old 04-11-2013, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

As an Aereo sub, you don't pay the TV stations, you pay Aereo. Aereo pockets all the money. TV stations gets zip. Why is this so hard for people to understand that Aereo is taking something of value and reselling it and NOT sharing the proceeds with the originator? In any other instance this would be called stealing and all of you would be screaming it from the highest mountains. But since this is the evil, rich TV stations, outright thief is perfectly OK. It is STILL STEALING. Period.

It's not theft because the programming is freely available ota. If Aereo was sending you signals from cable networks, then yes, that would be theft. Aereo rents you the equipment and charges you a fee to access that signal. Sure they're making a profit on this. Just like the networks are making profit using the PUBLIC airwaves. Every industry has to take the good with the bad. Sadly the entertainment industry only wants the good and will sue not to experience the bad. Like I said, this is very similar to how Slingboxes work. Of course, since your known as FOXeng, you probably have a problem with those too.
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post #27 of 593 Old 04-11-2013, 06:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxeng View Post

As an Aereo sub, you don't pay the TV stations, you pay Aereo. Aereo pockets all the money. TV stations gets zip. Why is this so hard for people to understand that Aereo is taking something of value and reselling it and NOT sharing the proceeds with the originator? In any other instance this would be called stealing and all of you would be screaming it from the highest mountains. But since this is the evil, rich TV stations, outright thief is perfectly OK. It is STILL STEALING. Period.
Because many people don't consider it stealing when it's OTA signals, just like they don't think cable/sat should have to pay to carry OTA signals. They are all simply packaging "free" TV with "pay" TV to make it simpler for the customer. So far the courts have bowed to network pressure to force cable/sat to pay because of the perceived benefit they derive from carrying those signals and I assume the same will eventually happen with Aereo. The bigger question to me is when are the networks, not just OTA, going to develop their own Aereo-type service and let us watch TV the way we want to with or without cable/sat? They want to force us to watch advertising and they want us to pay more if we don't use an antenna. The day will come too when they will get revenue from a TV tax like Europe.

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post #28 of 593 Old 04-11-2013, 07:14 AM
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Everyone keeps forgetting one IMPORTANT fact. The government has degreed that people with antennas should not pay for the signals sent over the "public airwaves." The government on the other hand has little to no regulations on what is sent via other methods than OTA TV. That is where the rub comes in. As long as you keep the signal on a wire, you can pretty much do what you want with it. A signal that is intended for free reception by the first party (by law), is theft when the first party repackages it to a second party for profit and does not have the consent of the signal originator. That is theft. Plain and simple. And that is what Aereo is doing, hiding behind a bush of cable retrans regulations that work in their favor but doesn't mean it is legal according to everything from retrans to copywrite.

There is no difference between Aereo and if you put up antenna at your house and then ran cables, coax or Ethernet, to your neighbors and then charged them for it. You don't have the consent of the OTA station, and more importantly the owner of the intellectual property (programming) no matter how you try and spin it as the neighbor is only paying the equipment costs. Neither the station or content owner has given permission for that kind of distribution. You are in violation of copywrite at that point as well, makikng money off of someone else work.

What ultimately got Al Capone? Income Tax evasion. Copywrite could very well kill Aereo when this runs it course.

It is just that simple.

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post #29 of 593 Old 04-11-2013, 09:05 AM
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OTA is free to resell as you see fit? LIft some songs off of an HD radio and set up a website where you sell them for 50 cents a pop. See how long that lasts. Even if you do it one song at a time for one client at a time (essentially the Aereo model), the RIAA is going to have your man apples on a platter.

On the other side of the coin, the TV stations are making the same mistake the recording industry is making by fighting this. The better tact is to get out in front of it. Antitrust fears notwithstanding, a dozen stations in a single market forming a coalition to provide this very service would knock Aereo out of their market. And they can offer it with a direct feed and a number of other features (on-demand, instant news, weather, etc) that Aereo cannot. Sell banner ads and undercut Aereo. Game over.

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post #30 of 593 Old 04-11-2013, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy View Post

If Aereo was re-transmitting local signals, then wouldn't that expand the reach of the network and local station's advertising? Wouldn't more eyeballs, even if they were delivered by Aereo, be a net positive even without compensation? Seems like all that needs to happen is for the broadcasters to get a cut. So negotiate one; problem solved. What am I missing?

What you're missing is that for the OTA broadcasters reach is not the primary issue. Getting paid for the eyeballs is the primary issue and that only happens through Nielsen Ratings and through retransmission fees.

Since Aereo viewers aren't included in Neilsen Ratings, the broadcaster may have more eyes on the screen, but he isn't getting paid for them. And the retransmission fees situation is even worse. If the Aereo decision stands, then the cable companies could very easily switch to a system that would be almost identical to the Aereo scheme and just refuse to pay retransmission fees, All they'd have to do is put up an antenna array like Aereo's and send a firmware download to all their STBs to limit their functionality and they could end up with something that could legally pass muster as a "private" performance under this ruling.
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