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ICLE and CEI File Amicus Brief in Aereo Supreme Court Case PDF Print E-mail

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Today the International Center for Law & Economics and the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed an amicus brief in support of Petitioners in the Supreme Court's Aereo case.

The brief, which was authored by ICLE's Geoffrey Manne and Ben Sperry and CEI's Ryan Radia, argues that Aereo's unlicensed transmission of copyrighted broadcast programming violates the Copyright Act:

In concluding that Aereo does not publicly perform broadcast television programs, the Second Circuit relied upon its 2008 Cablevision decision holding that a cable company’s remote RS-DVR was similarly non-infringing. Importantly, however, the individual cable subscribers to whom Cablevision transmitted copies of plaintiff Cartoon Network’s television programming were already paying for lawful access to it. . . . The dispute in Cablevision thus involved a copyright holder and a licensee with a preexisting contractual relationship; the parties simply disagreed on the terms by which Cablevision was permitted to transmit Cartoon Network’s content. 

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Unlike the cable company in Cablevision, Aereo and its ilk have neither sought nor received permission from any holders of copyrights in broadcast television programming before retransmitting their works to paying subscribers. The “safety valve” enjoyed by Cartoon Network and other cable channels—a cable company’s need to obtain copyright licenses to access each channel owner’s content—is unavailable to owners of broadcast television programming whose works are transmitted over the airwaves. To effectuate the purpose of the Copyright Act, therefore, it is essential that this Court interpret the law to preserve the rights of copyright holders whose content Aereo usurps by allowing them to enjoin Aereo’s unlicensed retransmissions of their creative works."

Read the whole thing here:

ICLE and CEI Amici Curiae Brief in Support of Petitions in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al. v. Aereo, Inc.

We'l have more to say about the issues in the case leading up to the oral argument on April 22.