Cablevision Realizes It Argued Against Its Own Interests In Aereo Case; Flips Sides

from the without-admitting-that... dept

Here's a bizarre footnote to a bizarre footnote in the ongoing legal fight between Aereo and the TV broadcasters. As you may recall, Aereo has relied heavily on the precedent in the 2nd Circuit in the Cablevision case, which effectively ruled that Cablevision's remote DVR was legal. The first bizarre footnote was that in the district court case, Cablevision actually sided with the broadcasters. We pointed out that this was fairly cynical and obnoxious by Cablevision, as it appeared that the company was just trying to protect its turf from a competitor by arguing that its own remote DVR was legal, but this competitor's was illegal. Of course we left out one adjective.

It wasn't just cynical and obnoxious, it was monumentally shortsighted. That's because anyone who had spent more than about 30 seconds understanding the details of the case knew that the broadcasters weren't just focused on Aereo -- but rather were looking to use Aereo to overturn the Cablevision ruling. They were pretty explicit about this all along -- and even some of the judges understand this.

Now that the NY case has been appealed to the Supreme Court, and it's abundantly clear that the networks are aiming to take down the Cablevision ruling, Cablevision appears to finally have recognized what a monumentally stupid move it made in supporting their arguments earlier in the case (even if the networks lost). Rather than admit that it was in error, it appears that Cablevision has decided to cover up their flip flop by just screaming much more loudly against the very networks it sided with earlier in this case. It's come out with a scathing statement blasting the networks for their appeal, and arguing that the networks were engaged in a "willful attempt to stifle innovation." That's almost exactly the opposite of what it said before.

Cablevision's media wranglers would probably argue that its amicus brief in support of the networks was merely focused on a different argument: that Aereo didn't meet the same qualifications as Cablevision, but it's bizarre to think they didn't realize that the point of the case was to take down the victory Cablevision got in its case. Furthermore, a win for Aereo would actually be huge for Cablevision, because it would allow them to start offering a similar service, and get out from under crazy retransmission fees.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2013 @ 1:11pm

    I can kind of see where they're coming from. By arguing that Aereo doesn't meet the same requirements as Cabelevision, they're arguing that they are 100% legal and should be held as the standard for legal DVRing. Doesn't make it right at all, and it's still hypocritical they did this, but I can see where they're coming from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    ahow628 (profile), 25 Oct 2013 @ 1:24pm

    Bound to happen

    I'm sure the same lawyers weren't arguing both cases. Heck, I'll bet the legal teams aren't even in the same building. What seems obvious from the outside is a clear problem of siloing within a large company.

    Right hand meet left hand...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 25 Oct 2013 @ 1:30pm


    Thing is Aereo based their business around the Cablevision ruling, what was considered legal, what wasn't, leading to the insane tech setup they ended up with.

    That means any ruling that goes against Aereo, is equally applicable to Cablevision, something they really should have realized from the start.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, 25 Oct 2013 @ 1:46pm

    Inconsistency is a sign of basically criminal intent.

    By Cablevision. Because when trying to tap dance around clear law to use someone else's property for your own gain without the bother of paying, it's almost impossible to be consistent. Especially for lawyers who aren't technical and are trying to promote weak theory they don't believe. -- So it's no surprise to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), 25 Oct 2013 @ 2:02pm

    Am I the only person confused?

    Are you for the ruling in your favor or against the ruling in your favor?

    Maybe you need to reconsider your business model and side with those that want to give you the option to choose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2013 @ 2:26pm

    this is the trouble when you have been anti-everything except yourself for so long. you forget when circumstances have altered and you need to follow or shoot yourself multiple times in the feet!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Rabbit80 (profile), 25 Oct 2013 @ 3:44pm

    Sounds like a shrewd move...

    .. by the Cablevision lawyers. They just guaranteed themselves a truck load of extra pay!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2013 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Inconsistency is a sign of basically criminal intent.

    You're not coherent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    clear law, 26 Oct 2013 @ 1:25am

    Re: Inconsistency is a sign of basically criminal intent.

    is that like your common law blue?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Alki, 26 Oct 2013 @ 7:30pm


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Terry Schladetzky, 28 Oct 2013 @ 10:58am

    Cablevision Frog Soup

    I had to laugh when I read this article because the comment I made a few months ago was that Cablevision was spouting off about Aereo and FilmOn and didn't even realize they were already sitting in the same pot of water with Aereo and FilmOn that was about to boil. As the networks slowly turned up the heat, Cablevision is now asking themselves is it to late to undo this incredibly stupid move of inadvertently spouting off against their own product. Now the networks are at the front door of the supreme court and Cablevision just realized they are in the soup too.

    Speaking of short sided, the networks need to open their eyes and realize that they are their own worst enemy? They have spent a small fortune to once again fight technology and innovation only to shove a concept down the throats of the American people that families should sit down to watch "Must See TV Thursdays," as if anyone these days turns on the TV to watch 3 hours of continuous network programming from one channel. Nielson says the world does is this way, so the networks buy into it.

    What they don't recognize are two very important points. First this is the direction their viewers want to go. If they are so worried about failing then stop trying to hold on to obsolete technology and sell the world more buggy whips. If you want to remain relevant in business, you need to give the people what they want. The people have spoken and voted with their wallets. They want IPADS, they want DVRs, and they want On Demand Programming.

    The second thing they should recognize is that while they make 60 cents per household, the majority of their income is from advertising. It is a simple concept. The more viewers you have, the more you can charge for advertising. So if you have more viewers viewing from streaming devices, you can charge more for advertising. Wow. Increased revenue. Not to mention, they would have access to much better analytics in a real time format from streaming services through such devices like the Roku, Apple TV, or Google TV. Then as a successful network executive, you wouldn't end up cancelling all the popular television shows anymore because you will actually have good data about the number of viewers you really have and not relying on the hokum produced by the Nielson rating system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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