Aereo infringes broadcasters’ copyrights, US Supreme Court rules — coming impact for streaming and cloud services?

By Andrew L Deutsch,  Marc E Miller and Melissa A Reinckens

The US Supreme Court has held that online video start-up Aereo infringes broadcasters’ copyrights in on-air programming when Aereo transmits the programmes to its internet subscribers. 

Ruling on 25 June, the court held that such transmissions are a public performance and thus infringe the exclusive right to publicly perform a work protected by copyright. It rejected the argument that Aereo is only an equipment provider, and that subscribers, rather than Aereo, ‘perform’ each transmission. 

The court held that Congress, in enacting the Copyright Act, had intended to prohibit cable TV companies from re-broadcasting copyrighted programmes without the copyright owner’s permission, and that to carry out this congressional purpose Aereo’s system, which operates without such permission, must be enjoined…

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