Monday, April 21, 2014

GCI, IACI: Supreme Court to hear the Aereo case ...

Well, the time has come to make arguments to the Supreme Court regarding whether Aereo is illegal (violating Copyright Act of 1976), and if so, should it pay broadcasters retransmission fees that they receive from cable and satellite companies; or not.  The Supreme Court will hear both sides on Tuesday, 4/22; and will likely make a decision at the end of Q2.  

We believe the Supreme Court will allow Aereo to continue operating but will also give broadcasters an opportunity to charge Aereo for distributing the content for which they pay.

If the ruling, likely in late Jun. '14, is completely against Aereo, then, as Barry Diller, chairman of IACI and an early backer of Aereo, said on Bloomberg TV, "If we lose, we're finished."

If the ruling gives Aereo the right to 'intercept' the content, violate copyright laws, and give the content to its subscribers for only $8/month without a penny of that going to broadcasters, then the cable and satellite players will use the ruling to reduce or eliminate the retransmission fees they pay those broadcasters; certainly a risk for companies such as GCI.  In our opinion, if the ruling is completely in favor of Aereo, then everyone may have to begin scripting their lengthy goodbye message to the entire concept of content copyright.   

While Aereo had two favorable rulings in 2013 (one in federal appeals court in New York and the other in the US District Court in Massachusetts), in Feb. '14, the US District Court in Utah ruled that Aereo is violating copyright laws, which made us happy as we finally saw some logic and sanity at work!

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