AfterDawn: Tech news

EFF tells court to protect Aereo

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 May 2012 8:28

EFF tells court to protect Aereo EFF, Public Knowledge get Aereo's back in dispute with TV networks.
Aereo is a New York-based service that allows a customer to literally rent a tiny remote TV antenna which will be used to deliver broadcast television to them wherever they are connected to the Internet. Predictably, major U.S. broadcasters are crying foul and have dragged the start-up to court.

Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief in federal court urging it to block a preliminary injunction that could prevent Aereo Inc. from establishing a customer base in New York City, saying that shutting the service sends a dangerous message to other start-ups.

"The threat of lengthy litigation would discourage any business from working to add value to the television viewing experience, leaving the market in the hands of a few established players," said EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz.

"Remember, these are the same folks who tried to keep VCRs off the market years ago, and more recently fought viciously against remote DVRs, which allow cable subscribers access to content they've already bought but is stored elsewhere. This is yet another attempt by TV networks to profit from, control, or stop new technology they didn't think of first."

U.S. TV Networks argue that Aereo's service constitutes a public performance and therefore infringes their copyright.

"All Aereo is doing, conceptually, is moving the rabbit ears from your roof to theirs," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl.

"Yet the TV networks want to play games with the law to get a cut of the profits or shut it down. We're asking the court to consider the legal and customary rights of television viewers, as well as the threats a preliminary injunction could bring to future innovation."

Read the filing here:

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