Even Hollywood Publications Are Concerned That Aereo Decision Kills Innovation And Harms Consumers
from the time-for-Congress-to-fix-things dept
We’ve already noted how the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Aereo case is a disaster for the technology industry, by using a bizarre “looks like a duck test” that provides no guidance for the tech industry and is going to create a litigation nightmare. Of course, the broadcasters and their supporters in the copyright maximalist world insist that this is all hyperbole and exaggeration — but it appears that even many of their “friends” agree.
The LA Times is Hollywood’s hometown paper, and it frequently supports the industry. However after the ruling, it’s released an editorial worrying about the impact on innovation:
There’s been plenty of speculation that Aereo could undermine broadcasters by cutting into or even eliminating the substantial fees they collect from cable operators. But then, as Scalia noted, broadcasters said the VCR would be the death of their industry too. By trying to close a legal loophole that technology enabled Aereo to exploit, the court blurred the boundaries around copyrights in a way that will chill investment and innovation. It would have been far better if the court had let Congress respond to a technological change it couldn’t have foreseen 38 years ago.
Then jump over to the Hollywood Reporter, the leading trade magazine for Hollywood, and you get a similar analysis that notes the chill on innovation:
Innovators lose because the Aereo decision makes it harder for them to know where the lines are drawn. The court said Aereo ? which allowed users to use RS-DVR technology to transmit programs, from a small antenna to a hard drive and thence via packet on the Internet to mobile devices and PCs ? was “substantially similar” to a cable system that uses a single big antenna to transmit programs via cables buried in the streets to television sets. The fact that Aereo also resembled an RS-DVR was discarded. With that much elasticity, how does a technologist know whether her brilliant idea too closely resembles a phonograph or player piano roll and therefore runs afoul of some vastly pre-Internet analysis?
That report also notes the harm done to the public:
Consumers lose for the same reason that MVPDs win. High priced cable bills are here to stay, and unbundling remains a distant dream for consumer advocates.
The other big trade publication, Daily Variety, was much more congratulatory towards Hollywood’s “victory,” but its editor-in-chief penned an analysis piece that warns the networks who hid behind this fight that if they don’t want another Aereo to pop up, they need to start innovating themselves.
In other words, pretty much everyone — even Hollywood’s closest observers — recognize that this ruling was a disaster towards true innovation, and are hoping against hope that these companies that have spent decades fighting innovation will magically start innovating themselves, now that they wiped out the upstart competitors. I wouldn’t hold my breath. The purpose of this fight was to kill innovation, and that’s not going to spur the networks to innovate. They think they wiped out this threat.