Supreme Court Corner — Q1 2014: American Broadcasting Companies v Aereo; and more

By Stan Panikowski, Brian Biggs and Andrew N Stein

American Broadcasting Companies Inc v Aereo Inc
Copyright: Status: cert. granted

Issue: does a company ‘publicly perform’ a copyrighted television programme when it retransmits a broadcast of that programme to paid subscribers over the internet?

Aereo provides to its subscribers antennas permitting users to watch and record over-the-air broadcast TV programmes. Applying Cartoon Network LP v CSC Holdings Inc, 536 F.3d 121 (2d Cir. 2008), the Second Circuit found no public performance because each Aereo subscriber received an individual transmission of the programme. Petitioners (several members of the broadcast television industry) argue that Aereo’s transmissions are public performances under the Copyright Act and that the transmissions could harm the broadcast industry…

This originally appeared in DLA Piper’s IPT News Q1 2014.

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