The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 6 to 3 opinion yesterday that Aereo’s Internet retransmission service infringes copyright. Aereo had tried to architect its television restransmission system to avoid paying copyright royalties or license fees by “renting” dime sized antennae to subscribers. Judge Chin of the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals had called Aereo’s service “a Rube Goldberg-like contrivance, over-engineered in an attempt to avoid the reach of the Copyright Act and to take advantage of a perceived loophole in the law.” In American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo, Inc., the SCOTUS agreed telling Aereo essentially, it looked like a cable retransmitter, it acted like a cable retransmitter, Congress had specifically amended the Copyright Act to ensure that cable retransmitters publically performed when they delivered programming to subscribers, and that Aereo’s service was indistinguishable in any meaningful way from those services.
Posts Tagged ‘public performance’
Earlier today, a number of international and foreign associations and copyright scholars filed an Amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in the ABC, Inc. et al v. Aereo, Inc case. The brief brings to the attention of the SCOTUS a number of international treaties and trade agreements respecting copyright that impose obligations on the United States to provide copyright holders with a broad technologically neutral communication to the public right that would cover all aspects of Aereo’s service and make its service infringing.
Aereo’s business model of re-transmitting TV broadcasts without a license infringes copyright and should be shut down. Its business model is a “sham” designed to capitalize on perceived loopholes in the US Copyright Act. This was the opinion of Circuit Judge Chin in his dissent in WNET, Thirteen v. Aereo, Inc 2013 WL 1285591 (2nd.Cir.Apr, 1, 2013). He re-iterated these same views in a scathing dissenting opinion disagreeing with his brethren in the Second Circuit who denied a motion to re-hear the case en banc.
The annual Fordham IP law conference is, in my view, second to none. This year”s Fordham’s 21st Annual Conference on Intellectual Property Law and Policy was sensational. Great program and fabulous international faculty. IPkat reported on some of the sessions.
On Friday, I was on a panel Performance Rights in Copyright: Public, Private or “Digital”? The speakers and panelists with me were Profs. Tyler Ochoa (Santa Clara U. School of Law) and Jane Ginsburg (Columbia), David Ellen (GC Cablevision), Dr. Silke von Lewinski (Max Planck Institute for IP) and Janet Cullum (Cooley). It was a very timely panel, especially given the recent release of the opinion in WNET, Thirteen v. Aereo, Inc 2013 WL 1285591 (2nd.Cir.Apr, 1, 2013). Judge Chin who delivered the powerful dissent in the Aereo case was in the audience.
The Second Circuit released an important opinion yesterday ruling that Aereo’s New York based Internet streaming service does not infringe the US public performance right. In WNET, Thirteen v. Aereo, Inc 2013 WL 1285591 (2nd.Cir.Apr, 1, 2013), by a two to one majority, the Court ruled that the technical architecture of the service which is based on “renting” mini-antennas and transcoders to members of the public that are used to stream over the air live broadcasts renders the service non-infringing.
Central to the Court’s ruling was it prior decision in the Cablevision case which according to the Court established the following: .
Yesterday, I gave a talk at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 17h Annual Intellectual Property Law: The Year in Review program. My talk canvassed developments in copyright in Canada and around the world in 2012. My slides are shown below. The associated paper prepared in collaboration with Glen Bloom, with the help of others, is available here.
The following copyright cases from Canada, the USA, UK and Ireland, Australia, and Europe are dealt with in the paper and slides.
Aga Khan v. Tajdin, 2012 FCA 12