Aereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__131008001115__131212200214__140110201424__140211193750With less than three weeks before Aereo argues its case in front of the Supreme Court, amicus briefs today supporting the subscription streaming service in its battle against the broadcasters were being filed fast and furiously. Supporters of the Barry Diller-backed company have until 11:59 PM ET to add their voices to the cause. On the plaintiff’s side, SAG-AFTRA, Viacom, Time Warner and Warner Bros Entertainment, the NFL and MLB are among those who have come out against Aereo. Add to that, the Obama administration filed a brief of its own supporting the broadcasters and a motion to argue during supremecourtthe 1-hour April 22 hearing before the High Court. Today’s briefs from Dish Network, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Cable Association and more come less than a week after Aereo firmly responded to the broadcaster’s February 24 brief and the same day Diller said that Aereo could be “finished” if it loses before the SCOTUS. More briefs are expected throughout the evening — we’ll update as more come in. Here are a few highlights from ones submitted so far today:

Dish Network
Chairman Charlie Ergen has good reason to support Aereo. He, too, butted heads with broadcasters who objected to his Hopper DVR’s ability to automatically jump over their ads in recorded shows. He also owns Sling, a device that streams users’ live and recorded TV programs. “Aereo is in some ways novel, but it is also among a host of technologies that uses the Internet to offer consumers the ability to do what they always have more cheaply and conveniently,” Dish says in its brief. The technology, and others including Dish’s, “are like dumbwaiters, incapable of delivering a pail of water without the thirsty person tugging on ropes and pulleys. If an individual uses that dumbwaiter to fetch himself a video he recorded of Breaking Bad, the dumbwaiter manufacturer does not infringe a copyright in the show.”

Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, Consumer Electronics Association
It would have been a shock if these tech-friendly groups didn’t support Aereo. “The Court’s longstanding approach in copyright cases has been to avoid acting as a technology regulator, avoid determining the worth of businesses, and leave it to Congress to determine whether a disruptive technology requires rebalancing of express statutory rights,” they say. And, indeed, “Aereo’s service may offer many more benefits than costs. But either way, the Court should not attempt to predict the future of television.”

Free Antennas for
5 months
The left wing in this country decries the ruthlessness of the market economy. Here's an example of...
jnffarrell1
5 months
Congress never intended for networks to dominate TV. As long as the local markets that broadcast TV...

Small and Independent Broadcasters
It might amaze you to find there are actually some broadcasters in Aereo’s camp but in a classic David vs. Goliath move, these small and independent broadcasters say that “Aereo is an opportunity, not a threat, to their business.” And they see the big boys as stifling progress and access. “Were Petitioners to wield control over technologies such as Aereo, viewers who rely on Internetenabled devices to view broadcast content would suffer, because they would have fewer choices.” says the brief from Block Broadcasting Company, Soul of the South Television, WatchTV, Inc., Mako Communications, LeSEA Broadcasting Corporation, Cocola Broadcasting Companies. Viewer choice is especially important for those audience members who choose to go ‘against the mainstream’ with their viewing selections. Anti-mainstream options, such as SIB programming, may not be available to viewers if parties such as Petitioners control all content.”

Consumer Federation Of America and the Consumers Union
The giant and long established consumer advocacy groups want to see the cost of being a part of the digital world to fall and for their money, Aereo is a step in that direction. “Aereo’s technology serves a fundamental public interest by promoting flexible personal use of locally available free OTA broadcasts,’ the 50 million strong CFA and the policy arm of Consumer Reports say. “By giving consumers a meaningful choice of a cloud-based method for enabling private performances of live or time- and place-shifted OTA television, Aereo’s technology promotes consumer sovereignty and bridges the digital divide. Aereo’s technology is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. copyright regime, and this Court’s own copyright jurisprudence.”

American Cable Association
“Aereo’s device is consistent with maximizing opportunities to tune in to free over-the-air local broadcasts, and helps prevent that option from being eclipsed by Internet-based alternatives that exclude local broadcasts,” says the non-profit trade group representing 850 small and medium sized cable operators. “Even the ‘cord cutters’ who choose not to pay for television programming through a cable subscription still use their cable company’s broadband Internet connection to access these other video sources of news, information and entertainment. Aereo offers another avenue for people to keep tuning in to their favorite local broadcasting station.”

Computer & Communications Industry Association & Mozilla Corporation
Adoption of petitioners’ position would threaten one of the most important emerging industries in the U.S. economy: cloud computing. Cloud computing— ubiquitous, on-demand network access to shared computing resources—offers benefits for businesses and consumers,” said the brief from the group that includes Google, Yahoo!, Samsung, Microsoft, Facebook, T-Mobile and DISH, among others as members. “Petitioners, the United States, and amicus curiae Cablevision admit that cloud computing is an important technology, but claim that their arguments as to why the court below erred will ‘not threaten the future of ‘cloud computing’ technology,’” the CCIA and Internet advocates  and Firefox developers Mozilla add. “But the tests they propose to distinguish between cloud computing and ‘other such Services’ are unworkable and will endanger the thriving cloud computing industry just as it starts to mature. Clarifying the contours of these new tests, moreover, would take years of costly litigation, chilling much valuable innovation in the meantime; by contrast, Congress is well-positioned to draw clear lines that operate prospectively.”