Supreme Court Sides With Broadcasters In Aereo Case
... But musicFIRST Cites The Precedent It Sets
June 25, 2014 at 10:40 AM (PT)
The SUPREME COURT has issued its final ruling in the AMERICAN BROADCASTING COMPANIES vs. AEREO case, siding 6-3 against the Internet startup. AEREO had hoped to rebroadcast live programs to subscribers without paying retransmission fees.
Although this case primarily involved TV and cable re-transmissions, a ruling in AEREO's favor could have set a precedent that would have had wide sweeping affects on radio/streaming and music. To read the USA TODAY story on this issue, click here.
In fact, the precedence of this ruling could have a detrimental impact on terrestrial radio, which MUSICFIRST COALITION Exec. Dir. TED KALO noted his response to the AEREO decision.
"The broadcasters’ victory over AEREO stands for a simple, undeniable proposition – no one has the right to make millions off of someone else’s creative property without paying fair market value for the underlying work. AEREO thought it found a loophole around this basic principle, but the SUPREME COURT rightly refused to elevate form over function and insisted that AEREO pay fair value for the content that is the foundation of its business just like everybody else.
"But as the NAB and its members toast their victory, they may find a sour taste as well. In their radio business, NAB members commit the exact sin that they condemn in AEREO – they use music as the foundation of their programming, yet refuse to pay the artists and labels who created the music a cent. NAB members twist the copyright laws to deny creators fair pay just as AEREO did, only on a vastly greater scale. As momentum builds in CONGRESS to close the AM/FM performance loophole once and for all, NAB and its members may find their win over AEREO read back to them as Exhibit A in the case for fair pay for all creators across the board."