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Date
April 23, 2014

Owning the Airwaves

Transcript

Scott: The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case yesterday which could change the way you watch your favorite shows. Demetrius Pipkin explains.

Demetrius: The Supreme Court is weighing the future of television as we know it.

Neal Katyal: The question in the case is can a company come along and grab signals out of the air, re-bundle them and sell them to other people for profit.

Demetrius: Under copyright law, which protects ideas and creative work, cable and satellite companies pay television networks billions of dollars a year to bring their subscribers many popular shows. The startup company Aereo delivers the same programming without paying the networks. It receives network signals through the air using dime-sized antennas, one for each subscriber who then watches the shows over the internet.

Joan Solsman: Aereo’s argument is that over-the-air television is free anyway. ‘Anyone with an antenna can access it and we’re just giving them that antenna.’ But the broadcasters say, ‘what you’re doing is you’re basically providing a service, like a cable service or a satellite service, that’s retransmitting our copyrighted content without paying us for it’.

Demetrius: All four U.S. networks are suing Aereo to make the company stop. Channel One News is associated with CBS.

And while the monthly subscription for Aereo’s starts at $8, the television companies are fighting for billions. They say if the Supreme Court sides with Aereo, they would consider taking their programming off the air and putting it on the internet or cable channels themselves.

The Supreme Court’s decision, expected this summer, could dramatically change broadcast television and even affect other industries that use cloud-based storage.

Demetrius Pipkin, Channel One News.

Scott: Aereo has already expanded into about a dozen cities, with more on the way.

Correlations

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