CEA: Aereo Is Giving People What They Want

The Consumer Electronics Association, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Engine Advocacy have teamed up on an Aereo amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of the company's use of new tech to provide TV station signals to online subscribers.

Broadcasters have challenged the service in lower court and the Supremes are collecting input before an April 22 oral argument.

The groups frame the battle as one of entrenched goliaths against an entrepreneur David and his remote-antenna sling.

“The Aereo case pits entrenched businesses with deep political ties against an innovative entrepreneur who carefully followed the words of the law and implemented an idea of giving people the broadcast television service they are entitled to get," they say.

Aereo uses remote antenna farms and servers to provide what they say is simply technology providing remote access to free TV and home taping and broadcasters say is a way to circumvent copyright law in order to avoid paying fees.

“Entrepreneurs should be allowed to rely on laws as written, rather than face tortured interpretations of the law that the status quo demands government provide," says CEA, et al. "We ask the court to again choose a fair reading of the law and favor the new business entrant rather than the entrenched broadcasters, who by this lawsuit show their disdain for providing citizens service.”

The court will hear oral argument April 22 and is expected to render its reading of the law by early summer. IAC chief Barry Diller, who is a backer of Aereo, told Bloomberg Television Wednesday that if Aereo does not win in court, it is curtains for the new service.

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.