In Supreme Court Brief, TV Networks Threaten to Reconsider Public Broadcasting (1 Viewer)

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ronjohn

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Feb 17, 2005
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The latest numbers I saw showed that houses with OTA only were approaching the low single digits as a percentage of US households. Cell phone companies and new technologies are desperate to get access to spectrum to offer services. The broadcasters complain that OTA is not profitable. The spectrum has been used for OTA broadcasts in the US for 86 years. There are technologies that can provide more efficient service to a much larger group of people. Some people will be impacted negatively, but the overall impact on the populace and the economy would be greatly positive.
 
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ronjohn

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How do they get those numbers though? Cellphone company polls? ;) Going digital (and giving up that bandwidth) was the worst thing to happen to OTA ...

I looked it back up. It was 7%, a little higher than I remembered. The poll was commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association. I don't see how they would have an industry stake in the result. Their members make the electronics to view broadcasts no matter how they are received.

BTW, the National Association of Broadcasters commissioned a similar poll that showed that 19.2% of households receive ONLY OTA television.(No broadband, no cable, no satellite) I live in a fairly rural area, but still close enough to receive OTA transmissions. I would have a hard time finding 1 in 20 houses with antennas. I would not believe 1 in 5 households in the US have an antenna, much less rely solely on the antenna for television.

I do understand that some people would be hurt if OTA TV disappeared. However, I don't think we should make all of the freeways unpaved for the people who still want to use horse and carriages.
 

Scott Greczkowski

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I know more people using OTA today then I have in the past 10 years or longer.

Seems a lot of people are learning about the Subchannels many broadcasters offer and like the classic TV shows which are shown on Antenna TV, Cozi TV, RTV and others.
 

Geronimo

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It's not theft as you live in the service area and are just using an antenna to pick up those signals.

No different then put an antenna in your house. Unfortunately many can not do this because they live in an apartment or condo where you can't install an an antenna.


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then again that description fits what cable and satellie so and they have to pay for the privilege.
 

Teehar

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I'll say this one more time,if the broadcasters are so threatened by aereo,then why in blue blazes don't they offer something of their own?They could render Aereo moot very quickly if they did.Of course I think we all know the answer to this,they don't want to.All they want to do is get as much money as they can for the least amount of investment that they can.
 

osu1991

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I looked it back up. It was 7%, a little higher than I remembered. The poll was commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association. I don't see how they would have an industry stake in the result. Their members make the electronics to view broadcasts no matter how they are received.

BTW, the National Association of Broadcasters commissioned a similar poll that showed that 19.2% of households receive ONLY OTA television.(No broadband, no cable, no satellite) I live in a fairly rural area, but still close enough to receive OTA transmissions. I would have a hard time finding 1 in 20 houses with antennas. I would not believe 1 in 5 households in the US have an antenna, much less rely solely on the antenna for television.

I do understand that some people would be hurt if OTA TV disappeared. However, I don't think we should make all of the freeways unpaved for the people who still want to use horse and carriages.

With the rising costs of pay tv, those numbers are going up. I have 20 people on my street of 35 houses that use an antenna about 15 are antenna only. Im in a metro area of 1 million people. Go out to my lake house 50 miles away and nearly every house has an antenna and I would guess more than half are antenna only. No cable and not may sat dishes.
 
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Tampa8

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It's tempting to say Aereo will lose, looking at from they are providing copyrighted programming and making money off someone else's work.

But when you look closer, at just stick to the facts, Aereo looks better. They are renting you an antenna. So far, very simple. They provide an antenna and you pay for it each month. Then, as part of the cost they provide an internet link so you can use the antenna you are paying for. The signal you now have access to is the same free signal the Big Four are supposed to be supplying to you to an antenna you are using.
If I used the next door Farmer's land to use an OTA antenna on a tower he erected for me to use and I paid a monthly charge for it, I don't think the Networks would have a leg to stand on. How I get that signal - a long cable or an internet connection should not make a difference.

There are already several ways for me to watch my free signal over the internet, this is no different. Slingbox or the WD live player or whatever the device, that company is also making money for me to watch that free signal. Heck, my internet provider is making money for me to watch my free signal.

I have stated several times in the last few weeks that this would be the best outcome. OTA TV is now an outdated service. Free up the spectrum for more cell spectrum, a wireless internet spectrum, or some other newer service. If it were used for something more modern, people could still get video products, just a lot more efficiently.

Agree. Given they are now holding the carriers hostage for what is supposed to be free. (and again both sides gain on that so no, Cable or Satellite are not simply making money off big four) With today's technology they could offer so much more, but instead want to inhibit advancements just as they did with the DVR. That spectrum should go to companies who want to be on the cutting edge for delivery.
 
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tomcrown1

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Aereo will not survive in the end.

Just look at the deal between Comcast and Netflix.

If Aereo has to pay Comcast the same rate as Netflix for Internet steam then the rates for network tv can go as high as $20.00 per month.

How many folks will want Aereo tv if the rates go to $15.00 or more?

Until congress passes a law to bring Back net neutrality, Aereo is dead
 

riffjim4069

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There is no logic flaw whatsoever. A copyright violation is a copyright violation is a copyright violation...period. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Section 207) in conjunction with the FCC Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD) permit an individual to erect an OTA antenna on their property (whether owned or leased) in which they have exclusive rights of use, so they (an individual or family) can enjoy broadcast programming in accordance with copyright law and fair use restrictions - signals are not for redistribution without permission from the copyright holders.

AEREO redistributing copyrighted programming, without permission, and profiting from this venture under the guise of setting-up virtual OTA antennas is nonsense. It is a clear copyright violation! To be honest, my creating a virtual network so my guests (a virtual extension of my home) can watch cable programming just like they could could in my physical residence, can be considered less unlawful and less egregious than what AEREO is doing because at least I'm paying the copyright holders something instead of nothing, nodda, zip, nil, diddy-squat. Okay, perhaps I'm being somewhat facetious, but stealing is stealing.

Folks are free to erect an antenna on their own property (be it rabbit ears, attic or rooftop models) and watch broadcast television free-of-charge and in accordance with copyright law. However, if they lease an antenna, through a subscription service like AEREO, that is located elsewhere on not on property they have exclusive use...well, that's a pay television service and AEREO needs to license programming from the copyright holders prior to redistributing these service to customers.

I'll tell you what...I'll buy you a beer if AEREO wins this case. ;) One thing is for sure...telecommunications laws have not kept pace with the technology.

Your hypothetical is an epic fail riff. There's a big difference between sharing your subscription services with others for a fee and providing people with the means to access something they have a pre-existing right to (OTA broadcasts from their own DMA). (For the sake of simplicity I'll ignore any contract you signed with your provider that explicitly prevents you from doing this since no contracts govern the relationship between OTA broadcaster and viewer.)

Not to mention that you're missing the point that each Aereo subscriber has their own individual antenna and remote DVR. Your scenario is a single distribution to multiple people which even if OTA would be illegal.

Funny note about your scenario, the head of HBO or it's parent company (I don't recall precisely) recently encouraged people to share their HBO Go login credentials with friends. If I can find a link to that, I'll edit this post to add it.

Here it is: bgr.com/2014/01/20/hbo-go-login-sharing-policy/ So you can already share your HBO without bothering to set up your virtual sofa! :) Just don't charge for it!

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jayn_j

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A comment for those making the claim that the local station is being hurt by people circumventing rebroadcast fees. In the west there are several huge areas where broadcasters have claimed DMA ownership well beyond the reach of their antennas. For example, thake a look at the Denver DMA below that reaches northern edges of Wyoming and well into Nebraska. The Denver stations by making this claim have greatly expanded their viewing area AT NO FURTHER EXPENSE. This increases ad revenue in addition to the retransmission fees paid by the majority who receive via satellite and cable.

I do not understand why the broadcaster fails to have a responsibility to support a reasonable means to receive these supposed free broadcast signals at no additional expense to the broadcaster.

CO-Denver.gif
 

mike123abc

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There is no logic flaw whatsoever. A copyright violation is a copyright violation is a copyright violation...period. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Section 207) in conjunction with the FCC Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (OTARD) permit an individual to erect an OTA antenna on their property (whether owned or leased) in which they have exclusive rights of use, so they (an individual or family) can enjoy broadcast programming in accordance with copyright law and fair use restrictions - signals are not for redistribution without permission from the copyright holders.

AEREO redistributing copyrighted programming, without permission, and profiting from this venture under the guise of setting-up virtual OTA antennas is nonsense. It is a clear copyright violation! To be honest, my creating a virtual network so my guests (a virtual extension of my home) can watch cable programming just like they could could in my physical residence, can be considered less unlawful and less egregious than what AEREO is doing because at least I'm paying the copyright holders something instead of nothing, nodda, zip, nil, diddy-squat. Okay, perhaps I'm being somewhat facetious, but stealing is stealing.

Folks are free to erect an antenna on their own property (be it rabbit ears, attic or rooftop models) and watch broadcast television free-of-charge and in accordance with copyright law. However, if they lease an antenna, through a subscription service like AEREO, that is located elsewhere on not on property they have exclusive use...well, that's a pay television service and AEREO needs to license programming from the copyright holders prior to redistributing these service to customers.

I'll tell you what...I'll buy you a beer if AEREO wins this case. ;) One thing is for sure...telecommunications laws have not kept pace with the technology.

Aereo claims they are renting you the square centimeter of property that your private antenna is sitting on, so it is your rented antenna on your rented property. If you rent your home does that mean you do not have the right to receive OTA?

I still maintain that the case will not be decided on if any particular thing Aereo does is illegal, but if putting it all together creates something new which does infringe. Kind of like if you sold 5 chemicals and a mixer, yes, each chemical is safe and legal to sell. But you sell the 5 chemicals in exact proportions with mixing hardware that creates a chemical weapon, that is not legal to sell.
 

mike123abc

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I looked it back up. It was 7%, a little higher than I remembered. The poll was commissioned by the Consumer Electronics Association. I don't see how they would have an industry stake in the result. Their members make the electronics to view broadcasts no matter how they are received.

BTW, the National Association of Broadcasters commissioned a similar poll that showed that 19.2% of households receive ONLY OTA television.(No broadband, no cable, no satellite) I live in a fairly rural area, but still close enough to receive OTA transmissions. I would have a hard time finding 1 in 20 houses with antennas. I would not believe 1 in 5 households in the US have an antenna, much less rely solely on the antenna for television.

I do understand that some people would be hurt if OTA TV disappeared. However, I don't think we should make all of the freeways unpaved for the people who still want to use horse and carriages.

The NAB poll of 19.2% was that 19.2% of houses had at least one TV that was OTA only, not that the household was OTA only. A lot of people I know have a small OTA TV in a storm shelter for emergencies.
 

osu1991

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Let the networks take their programming to their cable networks. They will have half or less the viewership and then want to jack the rates even more, which will cause more people to stop paying. Legal or not this is a game that is going to blow up in their faces. The local affiliates will take their diginets and make that and their current syndicated fare the primary channel. The local affiliates will get to keep all the ad revenue plus and continue to provide the local news/weather and hopefully local sports again.

ESPN is a perfect example, they shout about how great their ratings are for football (which they are considering what espn ratings were before they got football), but it is still half the audience it was when the games were available via over the air coverage, so espn keeps jacking their rates wanting everyone to pay for their exclusivity, whether they watch the network or not. 30 millions viewers for a game on over the air versus 10-12 million when it moves to pay tv. The broadcast networks wont be able to do that with the run of the mill programming they have now. Right or wrong, they can demand higher rates now because people want access to local programming in addition to the broadcast programming. The networks wont be able to demand the money they do now , nor draw the viewers on pay tv for another channel showing 4 hrs of programming 6 times a day on a loop and they already replay most of their programming on sister cable networks, so there is no added value there either
 

riffjim4069

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Just an FYI: early Cable TV systems were nothing more than large antennas being erected in rural areas, and the broadcast signals spilt/shared among residence, so locals could enjoy broadcast television in their homes. These antennas were referred to as Community Antenna Television (CATV) and the topic regarding their use and broadcast copyrights have been argued since the late 1950s. I've included a link to an excellent legal review about this topic from way back in 1966.

One of the Broadcasters many arguments (66-page court filing) is that AEREO pretends to be a CATV system, which have been operate by capturing over-the-air broadcasts using antennas placed on hilltops and retransmitting those signals via cable to viewers in areas unable to receive the broadcasts with antennas of their own. However, the broadcaster's argue that AEREO retransmit these signals to customers, via the Internet, and profit from unlicensed works which clearly violates copyright law.

Lots of good reading...hope I have time to view 'em over the weekend.

http://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3888&context=lawreview
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/supreme-court-brief-tv-networks-682883
 

riffjim4069

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Aereo claims they are renting you the square centimeter of property that your private antenna is sitting on, so it is your rented antenna on your rented property. If you rent your home does that mean you do not have the right to receive OTA?

That's fine if you watch TV in the same building as the antenna is physically located. That's what the law permits. Otherwise, it's just a scam to game a loophole in the law. Let me ask you this, shouldn't I be permitted to rent a virtual antenna in Los Angeles (I don't live in that DMA) and watch broadcast television from that LA market since I have exclusive use of that square centimeter of real estate? AEREO doesn't currently do this...but I'll betcha it's their next move should they win this case. Let's just say the NFL won't be very happy and it would mark the death of the NFL on broadcast television.

I still maintain that the case will not be decided on if any particular thing Aereo does is illegal, but if putting it all together creates something new which does infringe. Kind of like if you sold 5 chemicals and a mixer, yes, each chemical is safe and legal to sell. But you sell the 5 chemicals in exact proportions with mixing hardware that creates a chemical weapon, that is not legal to sell.

Good point. Just like AEREO doesn't qualify as a CATV system, you can't completely exclude it due to unforeseen advances in technology that were never ruled on. However, on the surface it just doesn't pass the sniff test. As Marcellus said to Horatio, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

Anyway, I said Tivo would beat Dish...Voom would beat Dish...Tivo would beat Cable/Telcos...so I'm on a roll. I say the Broadcasters are going to crush AEREO. We shall see.
 

mike123abc

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That's fine if you watch TV in the same building as the antenna is physically located. That's what the law permits. Otherwise, it's just a scam to game a loophole in the law. Let me ask you this, shouldn't I be permitted to rent a virtual antenna in Los Angeles (I don't live in that DMA) and watch broadcast television from that LA market since I have exclusive use of that square centimeter of real estate? AEREO doesn't currently do this...but I'll betcha it's their next move should they win this case. Let's just say the NFL won't be very happy and it would mark the death of the NFL on broadcast television.

I would say it would be completely legal if you owned some property in LA, put an antenna on it and streamed it to yourself over the internet.

I think that perhaps you could be correct, if Aereo wins this round and their system is ruled legal, they could start offering out of market service. They probably do not do it now because they do not want that to be an issue to cloud the legality of the service.
 

riffjim4069

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Sounds like an overhaul of Cable, Telecommunications and Copyright law needs to be undertaken by Congress. The lobbyist will be out in full force and Big $$$ will decide the winners and losers, with the public being the biggest losers I'm sure. Business as usual in Washington.
 

Don in CT

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If the broadcasters want to take their ball and go home then I say let them as their will be another group who would want that spectrum and would be willing to provide quality programing in the spectrum that was given to them.

Hell in fact I dare the networks to put up or shut up.
So if CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox all pull their signals, what happens to the local affiliates that are paying to carry the network feed. Could they file their own suit against the networks. Or would they all become independent stations showing infomercials all day.
 

osu1991

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So if CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox all pull their signals, what happens to the local affiliates that are paying to carry the network feed. Could they file their own suit against the networks. Or would they all become independent stations showing infomercials all day.

Network programming only accounts for a few hours a day out of the entire affiliates schedule. My opinion is they will make their diginets (MeTV. ThisTV, etc..) their primary programming focus and fill in with more syndicated programming and local stuff. No big deal.
 
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