Aereo Pushes FCC on OVD Decision

Aereo execs led by founder Chet Kanojia have been talking up an FCC Media Bureau proposal—not yet circulated among the commissioners—that would define some over-the-top video providers MVPD's—specifically ones that provide a linear video service similar to cable even if they don't mirror cable in owning the transmission facilities.

"We believe that clarifying the MVPD definition to narrowly include linear online video services like Aereo's would have clear benefits to consumers, creators and distributors alike," Kanojia told FCC officials last week.

The item, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, is responsive to a complaint filed by one such providers, Sky Angel, which filed a program access complaint but was told by the FCC, tentatively, that it was not an MVPD.

That service has been suspended pending the decision—Sky Angel filed the complaint four years ago.

Aereo suspended operations following a decision by the Supreme Court that it violated copyright law by not paying content owners for delivering TV station signals over the Internet to subscribers, and pending a decision by the Copyright Office on whether Aereo could qualify for a compulsory copyright license, rather than have to negotiate them individually.

The Copyright Office has in the past said over-the-top providers did not qualify as MVPD's eligible for the license, but deferred a decision until the FCC or the courts weighed in.

Aereo is pushing the FCC to  weigh in and signal Aereo is an OVD.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.