Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

What happens when rigorous engineering thought runs head-on into Law?

In a lovely new twist, Aereo has decided to make lemonade out of their lemons -- having had the Supreme Court declare that their operation is illegal because it is, effectively, a cable service that isn't paying licensing fees, they've said that, fine, in that case they would like to actually be treated *as* a cable service, paying the statutory royalties.

I think they've caught the broadcasters flat-footed, and I'll be very curious to see how it plays out. It's probably a desperation move, and I *suspect* that they will fail, but more because of the incoherence of the legal precedents than due to any logic. Rationally speaking, I think they've made a clever argument, but it's very much an engineer's point of view: saying essentially that one medium of transmission is much like another, and since the law is already a bit vague on the topic, there is no sensible reason why the Internet shouldn't be considered to be equivalent to the others.

I hope they win it, and even more, I hope they force the question back to the Supreme Court and get some precedents that make sense. IMO, the Supremes' decision to rule Aereo as a cable system *does* make sense -- but only if you're willing to follow the logic all the way through...

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