Aereo

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Trying to make lemonade out of the lemon handed to it by the Supreme Court, Aereo has come up with Plan B.

The best stories never really end when you think they’re going to, do they? There’s always a nifty twist that keeps the plot chugging along.

So we really didn’t expect that the Supreme Court’s decision was the last word in the Aereo case, did we?

And right we were.

After pulling the plug on its service within a couple of days after taking a seeming knock-out punch from the Supreme Court, Aereo has come up with a plan. According to a letter filed by Aereo with Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (where the Aereo saga first got our attention back in 2012), Aereo is now a cable company that is entitled – by Congress, thank you very much – to retransmit over-the-air broadcast programming. As long, that is, as Aereo files the necessary “statements of account” and “royalty fees”required of cable systems. And in its letter Aereo advises that it “is proceeding” to file just those items.

Following the adage about making lemonade when handed lemons, Aereo has taken the Supreme Court’s decision and tried to turn it to Aereo’s advantage. Since the Supremes said that Aereo is “highly similar” to a conventional cable company, well then (according to Aereo), Aereo is a cable system and, therefore, “is entitled to a license” under Section 111 of the Copyright Act.

And even if it’s not entitled to such a license, Aereo’s got another argument. The Supreme Court concluded that Aereo is like a cable system because Aereo provides “near simultaneous” retransmissions of over-the-air programming. So (Aereo reasons) if Aereo’s service were to be limited to delayed (i.e., not “near simultaneous”) retransmissions – providing, instead, essentially an elaborate recording-and-playback service – then Aereo would no longer be like a cable system and would no longer be subject to the terms of the Supreme Court’s decision. (Blogmeister’s Note: Props to the Swami, Kevin Goldberg, for seeing this argument coming.)

Aereo’s argument is far from perfect. For example, while the Supremes did clearly indicate that Aereo is “highly similar” to a cable system, it’s a stretch to conclude (as Aereo does) that the Supreme Court issued a “holding that Aereo is a cable system under the Copyright Act”. A couple of years ago an operation called ivi, Inc., which provided an Internet-delivered system for streaming over-the-air programming and claimed it was a cable system, didn’t make it out of the starting gate. While Aereo’s system is arguably different in certain respects from ivi’s, the fact that ivi didn’t get very far should send Aereo a cautionary message.

How Judge Nathan will react to Aereo’s pirouette remains to be seen.

But, for now, Aereo lives on. It’s into Plan B and its now-proposed service is far from the service that got this melodrama started in 2012. But it’s still with us, at least for a while.

* For all you surprised by LeBron James, let me remind you: Cleveland is all about two non-consecutive stints. [Wikipedia]

* Speaking of basketball, Mitchell Epner takes his talents to CNBC to breakdown the 5 things he learned during the first week of the Donald Sterling trial. [CNBC]

* Who is the Litigator of the Week, per Litigation Daily? It’s Daniel Gitner of Lankler Siffert & Wohl because he became the first lawyer to beat the S.D.N.Y. U.S.A.O. in an insider trading case. Also because he’s awesome. Pardon me while I put on my LSW shirt. [The Litigation Daily (sub. req.)]

* Hey! Take a second to take our latest law firm survey. We really want your feedback on your perception. [Above the Law]

* “5 Reasons the Sleeping Yankees Fan’s Lawyer Should Be Disbarred.” Fair enough. [Internet on Trial]

* Will the EPA’s latest carbon rule survive judicial challenge? I would have said “no” but after Homer City… [Breaking Energy]

* Do blondes make more money? I guess that’s the trade-off with being the focus of revenge porn. [The Careerist / American Lawyer]

* Aereo is back. Sort of. [Comm Law Blog]

* A former Patton partner lost his new job at Pillsbury over the Chevron case. Could anybody have suffered more over this case? Oh, right, all the Ecuadorians. [Legal Times]

* While you weren’t looking, even fewer people took the LSAT. Obviously. [LSAC]

I get it, Bachelorette fans, you really think that ABC and the other broadcast networks are “free” and that you should be able to watch them without paying for them. You’ve been told, all your life, that they’re on the “public” airwaves, and that means everybody should be able to watch them without paying the cable company its monthly vig. You hate today’s Aereo decision, because once again the most pro-business Supreme Court ever backed “the evil cable companies” over consumers who want to “cut the cord.” Check out Brian Barrett’s excellent piece on how the Court killed technology and freedom itself this morning.

And when you are done crying, please, grow up. You can’t steal television. Aereo was stealing television. Aereo was stealing television and selling it back to you at a cheap price… which is what fences do when they sell you something they’ve stolen….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Aereo And The Myth Of Public Broadcasting​”

* Ready for the ATL Top 50 Law School Rankings? They will be revealed next week on the next episode of Kaplan’s The 180 — Live. [The 180 -- Live / Kaplan]

* Georgia is now the 31st state with an active marriage equality lawsuit. Justice Scalia now really wants a revolt. [Associated Press via ABC News]

* Stetson boasted the best bar passage rate in Florida. See how that’s a better fact to tout than “5th out of 11“? [Ocala Star Banner]

* A key member of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s defense team is leaving the Army because they were going to force him to leave the defense to attend a graduate course in Virginia. The kneejerk, liberal reaction is that this is a conspiracy to derail his defense. I highly doubt it. From my experience, the Army’s counterproductive decisions are staunchly arbitrary. [Huffington Post]

* Derek Khanna takes on the Aereo case before the Supreme Court ruins it for all of us. [Politix]

* Britain’s just like a cute little America. They have conservative politicians trying to win votes through nonsensical religious exclusion too. [What About Clients]

* Last time we checked in on Judge Carlos Cortez, he was defending himself against charges that he strangled and threatened to kill a girlfriend. Apparently things have gotten much, much darker down there in Texas. [Dallas Morning News]

* Mistrial declared after defendant shot in the chest in front of the jury. Judge, remarkably, phrases it like it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, a few minutes ago the FBI confirmed that the defendant has died of his wounds. [USA Today]

* Here are some signs you were meant to be a lawyer. They’re actually not all that great. Probably should have included: “You padded your hours when your mom asked how much time you’ve spent on your homework” or “You introduced your little brother as your associate… and your pets as paralegals.” [Survive Law]

* 21 Jump Fail. Cops embed a 20-something officer in a high school to pester special-needs kid into selling drugs. Judge is not amused. He probably saw the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill version. [Rolling Stone]

* Prosecutors told a guy to let a newspaper write about his drunk driving case as part of the plea deal. They’re really trying anything to save print media aren’t they? [Jim Romensesko]

* If you went to law school in New York, then the job market’s a little better for you this year. Sorry, rest of the country. [Adjunct Law Prof Blog]

* Congratulations to Paul Lo, who became the first Hmong judge in U.S. [Merced Sun Star]

* The Aereo case going before the Supreme Court in one helpful video after the jump… [Bloomberg News]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: 04.21.14″