2 Journal of International & Comparative Law 171 (2014).
32 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2014 Last revised: 24 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 17, 2014
This article scrutinizes the United States Supreme Court’s decision in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. Aereo’s streaming television service allowed subscribers to watch broadcast television on a computer, tablet, or smartphone without requiring them to be directly connected to cable, satellite, or a local antenna. Aereo’s system was designed to comply with existing copyright law by using thousands of antennas, each of which was designated for only one subscriber at a time. Aereo was sued for copyright infringement by a number of leading television broadcasters. The United States Supreme Court, over a heated Scalia dissent, concluded that Aereo was ‘highly similar’ to a cable company, and that it therefore made ‘public performances’ falling within the plaintiffs’ exclusive rights. Because the Aereo decision was unnecessary, unsound, and unwise, this article proposes steps that should be taken in order to avoid frustrating the development of beneficial ‘cloud’ computing services.
Keywords: Copyright, intellectual property, infringement, public performance, transmission, technology, cloud computing, television, broadcast, streaming, internet, certiorari, United States Supreme Court
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