Communications Law Professor Roy Gutterman Reacts to SCOTUS Aereo Ruling
A Supreme Court ruling on streaming TV startup Aereo was watched with keen interest by Professor Roy Gutterman.
By a 6-3 vote the high court ruled that Aereo’s service, providing online streaming access to TV broadcasts, is in violation of the copyright act. It’s seen as a major victory for television networks, which receive retransmission fees from cable and satellite TV providers.
Gutterman, communications law professor and director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at the Newhouse School, attended the oral arguments for ABC v. Aereo at the Supreme Court in April.
“The Supreme Court reiterated important copyright rules today with regard to how we view television,” says Gutterman. “Aereo’s innovative technologies were equated with traditional cable television transmissions and public performances. This decision further extends copyright protection to television broadcasts that are streamed over the internet by third parties and challenges new modern technologies.”
While cable and satellite companies like Comcast, Time Warner, and DirecTV pay retransmission fees, Aereo did not. The technology used by Aereo allowed it to capture over-the-air broadcast signals and provide the stream to subscribers for $8 dollars per month.
“On one hand, the decision may limit speech in terms of restricting how broadcast signals may be retransmitted via this new technology, “ says Gutterman. “But on the other hand, it further extends protection to intellectual property rights of the owners by allowing the owners to capitalize on their works and rights and dictate how their property can be retransmitted.”