Major League Baseball is a giant, soulless corporate entity committed to ruining the summer months with hours of watching guys stand around in a park interrupted by brief spurts of running upwards of 90 feet at a time. The NFL is a giant, soulless corporate entity committed to milking profit out of underpaying people to receive repeated massive head trauma. But at least the NFL puts out an exciting product.
Both of these multi-billion dollar endeavors have run to the Supreme Court to complain like the crybabies they are because technology has made enjoying their product too easy even as both have gone out of their way to make it more difficult to watch….
The sports entertainment giants have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to intervene and put a stop to Aereo, the Barry Diller-supported subscription service that gives tiny antennas the ability to capture broadcast signals and send those signals to customers for $8/month. It’s not just the leagues who are miffed about Aereo — you may remember when CBS threatened to sue Aereo and when hailed into court over it tried to tell a judge, “yeah, no, we didn’t mean it.”
But the leagues have gotten fed up with consistently losing to Aereo in the lower courts, who keep ruling that Aereo’s service represents transmission of “private performances,” not copyright-protected “public performances.” The league’s amicus brief is based on unfounded, crybaby claims about how tough life is when you’re turning billions showing people a game:
“If copyright holders lose their exclusive retransmission licensing rights and the substantial benefits derived from those rights when they place programming on broadcast stations, those stations will become less attractive mediums for distributing copyrighted content,” the leagues said in their brief. “The option for copyright holders will be to move that content to paid cable networks [such as ESPN and TNT] where Aereo-like services cannot hijack and exploit their programming without authorization.”
“The court’s intervention is now necessary to restore clarity and certainty in this area and to prevent the unraveling of a marketplace built upon the licensing of rights rather than the expropriation of such rights through technological chicanery,” the leagues said, adding that Aereo’s lower-court victories provide “cable systems and satellite carriers with a road map to avoid paying these retransmission royalties. Cable systems and satellite carriers already have signaled their interest in following Aereo’s lead, should Aereo prevail.”
Yeah! Aereo is cutting into all the money the NFL needs to not compensate its injured former players.
On behalf of sports fans everywhere, screw these guys. Are we supposed to celebrate the NFL’s benevolence in allowing free transmission of local games on Sundays? The only reason Aereo is a popular service is the NFL’s mind-boggling decision to sign its life over to DirectTV, blocking anyone from seeing whatever NFL game they want. No one is using Aereo to watch the local game on TV — they use it to watch the Steelers game while they’re in Los Angeles. If NFL Sunday Ticket were available on cable instead of an overly-expensive device defeated by light rainfall, Aereo would fall apart really quickly. The NFL shouldn’t be rewarded for its terrible business decisions.
MLB, on the other hand, already has the easily accessible MLB.com package. Their number one problem isn’t Aereo, it’s boring games, an aging fan base, and a lack of excitement when the Yankees aren’t good.
The complete amicus brief is available on the next page…