Aereo case has its head in the clouds

Aereo antenna array. Each antenna is about the size of a dime, and Aereo is filling rooms with thousands of them. The company recently lost at the Supreme Court, with justices ruling the service represented a copyright infringing "public performance".

If you're of a certain age, you'll recognize this familiar sight:

From the VHS of yore, this bright green FBI warning prohibited the "public performance" of any content. That distinction between public and private is what will largely decide the outcome of Aereo's case. Aereo argues that since the content is going directly to a customer, it's not that different than picking up a TV signal via an antenna you might buy and set up in your house. Or as CEO Chet Kanojia puts it, it's what makes it legal for you to sing a Miley Cyrus song in your shower: no one but you is enjoying/suffering through that performance but you.

But there's more than just television at stake in this case, something that everyone involved seems to be aware of. Cloud computing companies in particular are keeping a watchful eye on how this all plays out.

lot of companies that rely on the cloud are worried that depending on how the court rules, it could mean companies will need to look differently at the content on their servers, including issues of copyright and licensing.

 

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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