Reaction to Aereo Decision

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After the Supreme Court released its 6-3 decision in American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, wonkland responded.

National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith said, “NAB is pleased the Supreme Court has upheld the concept of copyright protection that is enshrined in the Constitution by standing with free and local television. Aereo characterized our lawsuit as an attack on innovation; that claim is demonstrably false. Broadcasters embrace innovation every day, as evidenced by our leadership in HDTV, social media, mobile apps, user-generated content, along with network TV backed ventures like Hulu. Television broadcasters will always welcome partnerships with companies who respect copyright law. Today's decision sends an unmistakable message that businesses built on the theft of copyrighted material will not be tolerated.”

Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia said, “Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is a massive setback for the American consumer. We’ve said all along that we worked diligently to create a technology that complies with the law, but today’s decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter. This sends a chilling message to the technology industry. It is troubling that the Court states in its decision that, ‘to the extent commercial actors or other interested entities may be concerned with the relationship between the development and use of such technologies and the Copyright Act, they are of course free to seek action from Congress.’ That begs the question: Are we moving towards a permission-based system for technology innovation?”

“While the court ruled that Aereo had overstepped, invention and innovation are at the heart of America’s global leadership in communications and technology development,” said House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “This case underscores the mounting need to modernize the 80-year-old Communications Act, which serves as an important, yet outdated, framework for the communications industry. We will continue laying the groundwork toward a #CommActUpdate to bring our laws into the innovation era so that the United States can continue leading the world in developing groundbreaking technologies that drive job creation and support consumer choice, economic growth, and social discourse.”
“The Court’s decision reminds us that the complex communications and technology marketplace is constantly innovating and rapidly changing, and that nuances in the law can have a profound effect on content providers and consumers,” added House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “Providing consumers with a vibrant and innovative content delivery system in the 21st century is an important objective of our #CommActUpdate. In that effort, we will carefully balance the competing marketplace interests to make sure that this industry continues to innovate, localism is preserved, and consumers ultimately come out on top.”
“The ABC v. Aereo case highlights the regulatory uncertainty that exists in the rapidly evolving video marketplace as a result of our country's outdated communications laws,” said House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH). “I look forward to working with Chairmen Upton and Walden in engaging in a comprehensive review of the Communications Act to ensure our policies foster robust investment and innovation in the 21st century digital economy.”

“21st Century Fox welcomes the US Supreme Court’s ruling, a decision that ultimately is a win for consumers that affirms important copyright protections and ensures that real innovation in over-the-top video will continue to support what is already a vibrant and growing television landscape," said Fox.

“We are gratified that the Court’s decision adopted a sensible middle ground, holding that unlicensed retransmission services like Aereo violate the copyright law, while protecting consumer-friendly, cloud-based technologies, such as RS-DVR. The real winner today is the consumer who will continue to benefit from future innovation," Cablevision said.

“Aereo was using technology, in this case thousands of dime-sized antennas, in a blatant attempt to circumvent copyright law and to profit from broadcasters’ content without compensating them," said Media Institute President Patrick Maines. The instituted had filed an amicus brief in support of broadcasters. "The Supreme Court has struck a strong blow in support of our copyright system. The Court has affirmed that technological schemes cannot be used as loopholes to avoid paying for copyrighted content.”

SAG-AFTRA was applauding the protection of its members’ content and business model. "[T]he US Supreme Court’s decision in the Aereo case... sends a clear and strong message that the Court will not permit companies like Aereo to use inconsequential technical workarounds to evade Congress’ intent to protect content creators and owners in the Copyright Act," the union said. "By adopting a practical analysis that recognizes the extraordinary similarity between Aereo and the cable systems Congress expressly regulated in the Act, the Court rightly focuses on the use of copyrighted works and refused to be sidetracked by the inconsequential technical details with which Aereo attempted to cloak itself. But in doing so, the Court properly limited the scope of the decision so that cloud services and other technological innovations are neither inhibited nor limited. This decision gives the creative community greater confidence that copyright law cannot be so simply evaded and restores the proper balance to the system.

“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court today ruled against innovator Aereo," said Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro, "but are pleased the Court said it favored future innovation and specifically referred to the Sony Betamax principles of fair use as a safety valve for new services and technologies. We especially appreciate Justice Scalia’s powerful dissent describing how innovation is often opposed by incumbents who make false, ‘the sky is falling’ predictions about the future."

"It is very unfortunate for consumers that the Supreme Court has ruled against Aereo, which has provided an innovative service that brings consumers more choices, more control over their programming, and lower prices,” said Public Knowledge President and CEO Gene Kimmelman. "We're concerned that the court's misreading of the law leaves consumers beholden to dominant entertainment and cable companies that constantly raise prices and gouge consumers. This decision, endangering a competitive choice for consumers, makes it all the more important for the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission to guard against anti-competitive consolidation, such as the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.”

“We’re disappointed that the Supreme Court has ruled to make it harder for consumers to access and watch broadcast television when and where they want," said Ellen Bloom, senior director of federal policy for Consumers Union. "We think Aereo was on to something by filling a need for low cost, flexible viewing options. As cable prices keep skyrocketing, the consumer demand will continue to grow for more personalized, affordable ways to watch television."

“We are greatly disappointed with today’s Aereo ruling and we believe that the majority’s opinion failed to reflect the reality of today’s media landscape," said Parents Television Council President Tim Winter. "This is a ruling for the status quo that hurts consumers. Aereo had the potential to break up the bundled-channel cable TV model that is forcing Americans to pay higher cable bills year after year for channels they don’t want or don’t watch."

NAB Statement on Supreme Court Decision Against Aereo (NAB) Statement (House Commerce Committee) NAB: Aereo Decision Means Copyright Theft Not Tolerated (Multichannel News) CEA: Aereo Decision Not Helpful To Innovation (Multichannel News) Statement from Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia on United States Supreme Court Decision (Aereo) Public Knowledge Statement on Supreme Court’s Aereo Ruling (Public Knowledge)