- Act Now
- Open Internet
- Promoting Creativity
- Open & Accessible Technology
Today, Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief defending Aereo in a lawsuit brought by several major broadcasters. Joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Consumer Electronics Association, the brief argues that the Aereo service, which makes it easier for consumers to watch free over-the-air TV, is perfectly legal.
The following statement can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:
"Consumers do not need permission to watch free TV. Just as viewers are allowed to use rabbit ears to receive over the air broadcasts, they're allowed to make use of Aereo's remote antenna service.
"Broadcasters use the public airwaves for free--a right which, if they paid for it, would be worth billions. In addition, the law props up their business model by granting them numerous special protections. They are essentially government–sponsored entities, and because of this they have certain duties, among them an obligation to provide a free service to the public. It is improper for them to try to shut down Aereo, a service which simply allows the public to make use of the service it subsidizes.
"What's more, the broadcasters are making arguments in this case that could jeopardize many everyday activities. If what are now considered to be 'private performances' suddenly require a license, then home recording, many consumer electronics devices, and even new 'cloud' media players could be at risk. Copyrights are important but they do not give anyone a veto over any and all 'uses' of content."
A link to the brief is here.