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SAG-AFTRA: Supreme Court Right On Aereo

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SAG-AFTRA: Supreme Court Right On Aereo

Actors will benefit from the demise of Aereo, according to SAG-AFTRA.

The Supreme Court on June 25 found that the streaming service, which counts former TV executive Barry Diller as a major investor, violated broadcasters’ copyrights by allowing its subscribers to watch and record over-the-air channels. 

The company had argued that its service avoided copyright infringement because it simply allowed subscribers to watch programs via the Web that they were already entitled to watch over the air for free. 

SAG-AFTRA issued a statement applauding the 6-3 decision. The ruling, according to the union, sent “a clear and strong message that the Court will not permit companies like Aereo to use inconsequential technical workarounds to evade Congress’ intent to protect content creators and owners in the Copyright Act.”

“By adopting a practical analysis that recognizes the extraordinary similarity between Aereo and the cable systems Congress expressly regulated in the Act, the Court rightly focuses on the use of copyrighted works and refused to be sidetracked by the inconsequential technical details with which Aereo attempted to cloak itself,” the union said. 

“But in doing so, the Court properly limited the scope of the decision so that cloud services and other technological innovations are neither inhibited nor limited. This decision gives the creative community greater confidence that copyright law cannot be so simply evaded and restores the proper balance to the system.”

Behind the union’s technical language was concern about what a loss of revenue for the networks from payments from cable and satellite providers would do to the financial well-being of its membership. 

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