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    Default Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    A US district court has granted a preliminary injunction against the Aereo TV service. Under the injunction, Aereo must suspend service in Utah and Colorado:

    Controversial TV service to be shut down - The Salt Lake Tribune

    Aereo is a service that lets customers rent TV antennas. Customers can access their rented antenna through the internet to watch shows that are local to their market. Aereo also offers a recording service so that customers can watch shows at a later time. People can watch live and recorded shows through their computer, smartphone, or TV-connected device (e.g. Roku, Apple TV).

    TV broadcasters (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS) are suing Aereo in court. They claim Aereo is illegally rebroadcasting their signal without permission and without compensation. They view Aereo as being no different than a cable TV company. Cable companies pay licensing fees to TV broadcasters to carry their content for their subscribers. If Aereo were to continue, there is a fear that cable companies would set up their own antenna system to avoid paying the TV broadcasters. Sports organizations, like the NFL, would take their games off of free TV and put them only on cable, requiring viewers to subscribe to cable in order to watch a game. Other popular shows may also go the cable-only route.

    There is a separate case going to the US Supreme Court (American Broadcasting Companies Inc, et al, v. Aereo Inc, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-461). The court date for this case is set for April 22, 2014.

    What is your view on Aereo? Is it really stealing from the TV broadcasters? Is it any different than if you set up your own antenna on the roof of your home? Should Aereo pay for content that is transmitted without encryption over public airwaves owned by the American people?
  2. #2  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    it's all greed related. When people claim "free market rules", you look at situations like this and it's obvious that the "free market" is anything but free. It's been shackled by rich entities that do not want to give up any of their golden egg laying geese.

    I go back to an old history book where they had a political cartoon from just before Teddy Roosevelt's "trust busting". It had a picture of a congressional chamber. Instead of congressional members sitting at the seats, they were large bags of money with faces painted on them, and company names painted on the money bags. I see us at that same stage in history.

    What I see different today is those large corporations have apparently learned their lesson where the rest of our population seems considerably more ignorant and easier to manipulate. Look at the Tea Party, their mantra is "Less government!", and other entities that want to shrink government down small enough for them to "drown it in a bath tub". Our corporate masters would love nothing more than to see government shrunk down so they can continue all their ill-gotten gains.

    I can only imagine the backlash Obama would face if he tried to do what Teddy Roosevelt did when his administration went after all the illegal trusts. Hence I don't imagine we'll get out from under the thumbs of our corporate masters anytime soon. When I hear someone talk about the size of federal government and talk about shrinking down the size of the federal government, it's like I'm watching a puppet that's been strung up with thick yarn. Kind of depressing, actually.
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  3. #3  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    I can't blame the broadcasters on this. I'm not familiar with the service, but it sounds like Aereo is profiting off the broadcasters without compensating them. If the service was free, it may be a more grey area, but renting of the antennas is what will do them in. Sure, the broadcasts are free and with public access, but the broadcasters still own the copyrights to their programs and have to step in like this, even if they don't actually mind, if they want to maintain control of the copyright protections.

    Quote Originally Posted by TXGTOU View Post
    Our corporate masters would love nothing more than to see government shrunk down so they can continue all their ill-gotten gains.
    If that were the case, why are all the big corporate lobbyists in dc trying to support additional regulations? They love big government because they can pass laws and regulations that hinders small business, aka the competition.
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooncatt View Post
    I can't blame the broadcasters on this. I'm not familiar with the service, but it sounds like Aereo is profiting off the broadcasters without compensating them. If the service was free, it may be a more grey area, but renting of the antennas is what will do them in. Sure, the broadcasts are free and with public access, but the broadcasters still own the copyrights to their programs and have to step in like this, even if they don't actually mind, if they want to maintain control of the copyright protections.
    I would describe the Aereo service with this analogy. Pretend that your house is surrounded by large hills that block TV signals. You can't get a good signal to watch TV. However, your neighbors live on top of the hill and get excellent reception.

    You make a deal with your neighbors. The deal is this: You get to install an antenna on your neighbors' property and run a extremely long cable from your neighbors' house to your house. You get to watch TV from your house, and you pay your neighbors a small fee for keeping your antenna on their property.

    In this situation, is anyone (you or your neighbors) required to pay the broadcasters?
  5. #5  
    jdbii's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    I support Aereo but I hadn't considered the fact that cable companies might put up their own antennas. I would want to know 1) whether or not cable companies have revenue streams other than subscriber fees; and, 2) if there is any real world analogy. Not the neighbor example, but something more like would I be to use a ham radio to rebroadcast a local radio station? Something like that.
  6. #6  
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    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    I am in Denver and subscribe to Aereo. Cable and satellite companies jack up the prices on their service where it should be available to the consumer at a minimum price and not "packaged" with other channels you don't use. I only watch the local TV and pay $8/month and can get all the channels I WANT to watch. I don't need 500 channels of garbage. I also pay $8/moth to Hulu and get my shows I WANT to watch. $16/mon vs $140/mon is a no brainer. I don't think Aereo should take the signal for free but I am sure if they have to pay the networks for the signal, the monthly fee is going to go up and chase a lot of subscribers away. Just too bad.
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  7. #7  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott7217 View Post
    In this situation, is anyone (you or your neighbors) required to pay the broadcasters?
    In the strictest of legal terms, it probably would be illegal too. The difference that would keep the broadcasters from pursuing the neighbor is that is too small time. It's only when profiting happens on a large scale that businesses really take notice. Though I wouldn't be surprised if the neighbor got at least a C&D order from the broadcasters if they found out it was happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdbii View Post
    I would want to know 1) whether or not cable companies have revenue streams other than subscriber fees...
    I'm sure they get some from advertisers just like broadcast tv, and maybe even some if they have a local public access channel where you can buy time to put on your own show.
  8. #8  
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    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooncatt View Post
    In the strictest of legal terms, it probably would be illegal too. The difference that would keep the broadcasters from pursuing the neighbor is that is too small time. It's only when profiting happens on a large scale that businesses really take notice. Though I wouldn't be surprised if the neighbor got at least a C&D order from the broadcasters if they found out it was happening.
    I just read up on this a bit. Sounds to me like Supreme Court will decide whether or not it is legal kind of based on this neighbor example. Everybody gets assigned their own individual antenna and the company's legal argument is that it is a "private viewing" from one antenna. I'ts just like if you put an antenna on your roof and piped it to three different rooms. The question is whether or not the antenna can be offsite and if your neighbor can charge you for its use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooncatt View Post
    I'm sure they get some from advertisers just like broadcast tv, and maybe even some if they have a local public access channel where you can buy time to put on your own show.
    I guess this isn't really relevant. I was trying to differentiate between the two. I was thinking if cable re-transmission generated revenue that otherwise wouldn't exist there might be a difference between cable and Aereo.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Couple things here.

    All other Federal Courts have ruled Aereo legal because of the Cablevision precedent.

    This district court basically stated because the Cablevision ruling didn't happen in their district, he wasn't going to follow it and make his own interpretation.

    From what I read of the actual ruling(yes I read these things because I hate myself), the Federal Judge basically didn't seem to understand the 1976 law because his ruling made certain things illegal that are currently legal.

    Not sure Aereo will be deemed legal by the Supreme Court but hopefully in the process they come up with clear guidelines.
  10. #10  
    NoYankees44's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Am I understanding this?

    Aereo is only renting out antennas to pick up free broadcasts and then enabling users to record and rebroadcast content to other devices...

    If that is true, this is nothing that someone could not do themselves easily without Aereo. I see no reason for it to be illegal. Someone could just buy their own stuff and do it themselves. Are they going to go after the people that do that too?
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  11. #11  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooncatt View Post
    If that were the case, why are all the big corporate lobbyists in dc trying to support additional regulations? They love big government because they can pass laws and regulations that hinders small business, aka the competition.
    They use some laws to inhibit competition, and then they would prefer to have some laws taken off the books so that they can fatten their profits via LESS regulation. Either way, big business owns this country.
  12. #12  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by NoYankees44 View Post
    Am I understanding this?

    Aereo is only renting out antennas to pick up free broadcasts and then enabling users to record and rebroadcast content to other devices...

    If that is true, this is nothing that someone could not do themselves easily without Aereo. I see no reason for it to be illegal. Someone could just buy their own stuff and do it themselves. Are they going to go after the people that do that too?
    Well, since you asked, who knows... when VCRs came out, the first argument made by the movie industry in the Courts was that recording their content to watch later without permission was illegal. There were actually attempts to make VCRs illegal. When the MP3 revolution hit, discs came out copy protected and there were arguments that ripping your own discs to your own portable device was illegal. They are always willing to go overboard. Too often, their efforts are endorsed by law as a result of lobbyists and the political process.
  13. #13  
    NoYankees44's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by TXGTOU View Post
    They use some laws to inhibit competition, and then they would prefer to have some laws taken off the books so that they can fatten their profits via LESS regulation. Either way, big business owns this country.
    Big business owns the government. To want more government is the same as wanting more big business. Big business controls the politicians. Not a single policy is enacted with the blessing of large corporations. In some ways, this is a good thing because, like it or not, corporations control the jobs and the economy. In other ways, it is a terrible thing. Make no mistake though, more or less government, big business will always win.
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  14. #14  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    I do not buy into the notion that, just because business says that something is bad or harmful, that it necessarily is. Frankly, the whole of the entertainment and broadcast industry has very little respect from me. That, plus disgust with much of the content out there, are the primary factors behind why I basically do not consume content.

    Take a look, for instance, at the legal blurb that the NFL tosses out there before football games. Under that rubric, all we could do is discuss the fact that a game will, is, or did take place, and who the participants were. We can't even talk about the game without trampling all over the "depictions" or whatever the wording is clause. Technically, humming a tune is a performance. I do not agree to those terms. And that's just the tip of the iceberg out there.
  15. #15  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by NoYankees44 View Post
    Big business owns the government. To want more government is the same as wanting more big business. Big business controls the politicians. Not a single policy is enacted with the blessing of large corporations. In some ways, this is a good thing because, like it or not, corporations control the jobs and the economy. In other ways, it is a terrible thing. Make no mistake though, more or less government, big business will always win.
    But asking for less government is only going to make the matters worse. At least with government, we have some voice in deciding who goes and stays, granted the system is always rigged so that the candidates meet with our corporate masters' approval (Consider how Ross Perot was mostly alienated by the media). The only way I'd like to see government shrunk down to the size that some people on the far right insist on it shrinking is if we shrunk down the size of corporate America as well.

    And, the one thing you also have to remember, while corporations do have a direct impact on jobs and our economy, there is no corporation without customers. What happened after the .com bubble bust after 2000, companies began laying off to save their own bottom line. In doing so, they removed a lot of consumers' buying power. This amplified the problem. If you don't have a decently paid workforce, the demand for goods and services goes down. If demand for goods and services goes down then guess what, companies lay off workers.

    What can be debated is where do we believe is a viable balance? Some people believe we're at a good balance now. I remember when companies paid their workers better, had pensions, we had a booming infrastructure so naturally I think we're still a little off balance in favor of the top percentage of wealth owners. The facts back up my claims of the lack of balance. United States Is Now the Most Unequal of All Advanced Economies | Eric Zuesse
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  16. #16  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    We as a people truly need to sit down, discuss, and decide upon what truly is the necessary and proper roll of Government. No matter what, until and unless that happens, nothing will change.
  17. Thread Author  Thread Author    #17  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Farish View Post
    Not sure Aereo will be deemed legal by the Supreme Court but hopefully in the process they come up with clear guidelines.
    I agree that we need clear guidelines. What I worry about is that the courts will shut down Aereo like they shut down Zediva. If you've never heard of Zediva, there's a good reason why:

    Streaming Movie Service Zediva Pays Hollywood $1.8M, Shuts Down - Wired

    Zediva rented out DVDs and DVD players that customers could access through the internet. So, it's like Aereo, but it uses DVD players in place of the antennas. If a Zediva customer wants to watch a movie, the system inserts a DVD into a DVD player and streams the video to the customer. At that time, no other customer can watch that DVD.

    The movie studios sued and won. Zediva had to shut down. Something like this could happen to Aereo. Personally, I hope Aereo wins, but it's not a sure thing.
  18. #18  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Free market my behind. These channels and cable companies should just be grateful people want to watch in a Netflix world.

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    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by jdbii View Post
    I support Aereo but I hadn't considered the fact that cable companies might put up their own antennas.
    It's already happened. The other company is called FilmOn, but they do not share the same goals as Aereo:

    FilmOn may turn out to be an Aereo-killer after all

    FilmOn is another company that uses similar technology to Aereo. However, from what I understand, FilmOn's goal is to kill Aereo in the courts. (In fact, FilmOn's previous name was "Aereokiller," but they had to change the name because of a trademark dispute with Aereo.) So, FilmOn fights the TV broadcasters in court and loses (on purpose, in my opinion) so that Aereo will have a tougher fight in the US Supreme Court when it comes up for its hearing.
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  20. #20  
    NoYankees44's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    The legality question is because of the "rebroadcast" feature. What aereo is doing is technically* no rebroadcasting(which is explicitly illegal), but it is effectively the same. One other judge already said they were not breaking the law. This new judge said they are.
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  21. Thread Author  Thread Author    #21  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by NoYankees44 View Post
    What aereo is doing is technically* no rebroadcasting(which is explicitly illegal), but it is effectively the same.
    A Supreme Court decision could greatly impact how people can watch TV. For example, it's perfectly fine for me to record TV with a VCR. If my VCR is broken, could I give my neighbors a video tape to record a show for me on their VCR until I get mine fixed? If my neighbors record the show and bring the tape over to my house the next day, are they effectively "rebroadcasting" the show and violating the law?

    A lot of people will want to know what the court feels on this issue. It will be an interesting case to follow.
  22. #22  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Like I said in my first post, I think it comes down to if businesses do that sort of thing for profit. You asking your neighbor to record something once or twice isn't going to raise any eyebrows.

    Secondly, what the heck are you doing still using a VCR?!?!
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  23. Thread Author  Thread Author    #23  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooncatt View Post
    Secondly, what the heck are you doing still using a VCR?!?!
    If the device is not malfunctioning, there is no need to repair it.
  24. Thread Author  Thread Author    #24  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooncatt View Post
    Like I said in my first post, I think it comes down to if businesses do that sort of thing for profit.
    So, let's say I run a major retailer on the internet, and I offer 2-day shipping to my customers for an annual fee. My company buys Aereo. Could I bundle Aereo's TV service with my shipping program for free? I am not making any profit off of the TV service. All of my profit comes from selling goods (e.g. books, snacks, small electronics, etc.) and from the annual fee for the shipping.
  25. #25  

    Default Re: Aereo TV Blocked by Court Order in Utah and Colorado

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott7217 View Post
    So, let's say I run a major retailer on the internet, and I offer 2-day shipping to my customers for an annual fee. My company buys Aereo. Could I bundle Aereo's TV service with my shipping program for free? I am not making any profit off of the TV service. All of my profit comes from selling goods (e.g. books, snacks, small electronics, etc.) and from the annual fee for the shipping.
    This isn't really a plausible situation due to the added costs to your business, it'd be hard to justify this happening in the real world. For the sake of argument, let's say you did do this. No company would do anything like this without expecting some sort of return on the investment. If you didn't raise any of your prices to your customers, the only reason you'd do it was if you expected it to increase your market share and the additional sales volume would offset the costs and still turn an increased profit as long as there was still a positive profit margin for the individual account.

    In that respect, the Aereo product would become a selling point to drive your for profit business. So yes, it'd still be illegal in my opinion. Another way to look at it would be if you lowered the cost of your regular subscription by X but charged exactly X for Aereo. The total of the two products combined would still be the same as the original subscription cost. Would you not agree that would be profiting from the Aereo product? It's essentially the same thing as in your example.
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