June 26, 2014

Reaction to Aereo Ruling

Brent Skorup

Senior Research Fellow
Summary

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, unfortunately, and ruled that Aereo violates copyright law with its cloud-based television system. Future online technologies are possibly at risk of litigation and copyright liability because of legal uncertainly created by the Court about the bounds of copyright.

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, unfortunately, and ruled that Aereo violates copyright law with its cloud-based television system. Future online technologies are possibly at risk of litigation and copyright liability because of legal uncertainty created by the Court about the bounds of copyright.

Notably, this case arose only because communications law has rendered copyright law unintelligible in cases like Aereo. Unfortunately, the Court was compelled to wade into this complex technology case and apply old copyright laws to new Internet technologies.

While the Court majority attempted to protect innovative digital technologies like online music and television storage and streaming, it is unclear that those valuable services and their future iterations are protected from copyright liability. These new threats to Internet-based companies highlight the need for simple laws and regulatory humility in the face of constantly changing technology.