Comcast's CEO: As Long As I Keep Saying Aereo Is Illegal, Sooner Or Later Someone Will Believe Me, Right?
from the right? dept
Aereo, makers of a system to let people stream network TV to their computer by setting up individual antennas for each customer (a process that is technologically insane, but legally required to stay legal), has come out on the winning side of both court rulings to date, including the one at the appelate level. While the various cases are still ongoing, you’d think that the TV networks would at least acknowledge this fact. But, of course, they don’t.
In an interview, Comcast (owner of NBC Universal) is still adamant that it’s plain as day that Aereo must be illegal.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told PBS in an interview this week that broadband live TV streaming company Aereo is breaking the law by refusing to pay retransmission-consent fees. “Here comes a company that says, ‘I don’t want to pay that fee.’ Well, I understand that, but I don’t think that’s the law of the land,” Roberts told PBS NewsHour in a segment about the future of television.
It’s funny, of course, because while he doesn’t think that’s the law of the land, it appears that both the district and appelate courts in the 2nd circuit actually do think it’s the law of the land, and they’re the ones that count. Of course, the problem is that Roberts is pretending this is about refusing to pay retransmission-consent fees. It’s not. It’s a question of whether or not the copyright situation changes based on the length of your cable. Everything that Aereo does for a consumer is perfectly legal if they were to setup the same basic contraption in their home (get an antenna, receive over-the-air network TV, connect a Slingbox or similar device to the feed, then access the feed via the internet). The only difference is that Aereo is setting this stuff up itself on its own property. That means, the real difference is the length of the cord between the antenna and the TV. If you set it up at home, it’s short. If Aereo sets it up, it’s long. The networks want you to believe that this longer cable suddenly means that retransmission fees need to be paid. Most people seem to recognize that this is ridiculous.
But not Roberts. To him, it’s obviously illegal, despite the fact that two courts have already ruled otherwise.