Fenwick Report on ABC v. Aereo What the Supreme Court Decided – And What It Did Not
On June 25, 2014, a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court held that Aereo’s service that allows customers to view over-the-air TV broadcasts via the internet violated the public performance right under the Copyright Act. Applying what the dissent characterized as “an improvised standard (‘looks-like-cable-TV’),” the majority held that Aereo infringed copyrights owned by television networks.
The Court was extraordinarily careful in attempting to restrain the reach of its holding, leaving many issues as to different technologies unanswered. But however those questions are resolved, the Supreme Court’s decision appears likely to doom the “view” functionality of Aereo’s internet/mobile device transmission service. American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, Inc. (U.S., No. 13-461, June 25, 2014).