Abstract: This article scrutinizes the many troubling errors made by the United States Supreme Court in its decision in American Broadcasting Companies Inc v Aereo Inc. Aereo’s streaming television service allowed subscribers to watch broadcast television on a computer, tablet, or smartphone without requiring them to be directly connected to cable, satellite, or a local antenna. Aereo’s system was designed to comply with existing copyright law by using thousands of antennas, each of which was designated for only one subscriber at a time. Aereo was sued for copyright infringement by a number of leading television broadcasters. The United States Supreme Court, over a heated Scalia dissent, concluded that Aereo was “highly similar” to a cable company, and that it therefore made “public performances” falling within the plaintiffs’ exclusive rights. Because the Aereo decision was unnecessary, unsound, and unwise, this article proposes steps that should be taken in order to avoid frustrating the development of benefi cial “cloud” computing services.
Keywords: Copyright; intellectual property; infringement; public performance; transmission; technology; cloud computing; television; broadcast; streaming; internet; certiorari; United States Supreme Court.
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