Now a days, when people hear the word “copyright infringement” they think that they might be going to hear something about Samsung and Apple patent infringement battle. But this time, it’s something else. Instead of Apple or Samsung, TV networks have raised absurd infringement claims to shut down a streaming service provided by Aereo, a startup that lets viewers stream local TVs to networked devices.
Aereo, a New York based startup, lets consumers stream and watch broadcast TV on networked devices in their homes. Aereo’s system works with thousands of dime-sized antennas installed on a Brooklyn rooftop. Each customer is assigned a single antenna through which he/she can control it. The signal from that antenna travels over the Internet to the customer’s devices and thus the customer can watch television for free. But broadcasters and TV networks like ABC, Fox, Univision, Disney, CBS, NBC, and PBS were not satisfied for Aereo’s system and hence they tried to sue Aereo for copyright infringement in March.
While the case was running at the trial court the broadcasters’ and TV networks’ raised the issue that Aereo should be treated like a cable system and must get permission from the broadcasters and TV networks, and pay license fees. But Aereo explained that it simply takes the place of “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna. However, after hearing all the points, Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York declined to shut Aereo down during the lawsuit mentioning that Aereo’s system was similar to Cablevision’s “remote DVR” that won an infringement copyright law in 2008.
Now after more than six months, while the appeals court has the power to decide whether Aereo will stay open or not while the case is running at that time a new twist just came. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has come forward along with Public Knowledge and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) to help Aereo. On last Friday, October 26, EFF requested the appeals court to reject the broadcasters’ and TV networks’ illogical copyright claims and protect the rights of consumers.
EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz said, “Just because Aereo’s system sends TV signals to customers doesn’t mean that Aereo needs permission from the broadcasters. Personal TV transmissions don’t violate copyright – it’s a private use that copyright law doesn’t reach. This is just a craven attempt by TV executives to profit from technology that they didn’t think of first.”
Source : Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)