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Supreme Court decsion may effect Tivo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by eboydog, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. May 8, 2014 #261 of 323
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    I want people who create things to control how much money for-profit middlemen can make off of those creations.
     
  2. May 8, 2014 #262 of 323
    shwru980r

    shwru980r Active Member

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    I wasn't addressing the profit margin of local stations. I was looking at the percentage of total revenue that retransmission fees represent. If the retransmission fees represent a small percentage of total revenue, then the revenue reduction is not significant.

    I believe I was suggesting finite elasticity of advertising revenue based on the
    additional viewers added by Aereo.

    I think the law requires free OTA signals. Another law authorizes the local stations to charge a retransmission fee. Ultimately the retransmission fees are passed on to the cable/satellite company customers. I believe this is a perversion, because the intent was for the public to be able to view the OTA channels for free.
     
  3. May 8, 2014 #263 of 323
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    What is the point in considering anything about a business without considering its impact on the business?

    If the retransmission fees make the difference between the business concern being worthwhile or not, then it is significant. Without having numbers that refute the implication of Baine's numbers, your logic not only is poor, but leads you to the wrong conclusion.

    That's not the case, and so it only makes one wonder how many other of your assumptions are as wrong as that one.
     
  4. May 8, 2014 #264 of 323
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    The intent of nearly all telecommunications law with regard to local television broadcasts has been to protect, nurture and encourage local broadcasters. Congress has long seen local television broadcasts as important as a source of news, emergency information and public service (the fact that they run political ads doesn't hurt either). The broadcasters are required by law to devote a certain percentage of their broadcast hours to news and/or public affairs content. In return for this stipulation (and some rather hefty license fees) the broadcasters were allowed to use the airwaves to deliver their content to everyone's home. None of this has anything to do with retransmission of the content. The broadcaster sends it across the airwaves, viewers erect antennas, receive the signals and then are free to do with the signals what they please, as long as they use it for their own, private, non-commercial (i.e. non-money-making) purposes.

    Cable and satellite companies take this content (sometimes received via antenna, sometimes fed directly from the broadcaster) and bundle it with a bunch of cable content and sell that as a service. Since this is commercial (i.e. money making) use of the content, the cable and satellite operators are required to pay the broadcasters a fee (since the cable and satellite operators are making money of a package that contains other people's copyrighted material they must share that revenue with the copyright holders).

    The key distinction here is that the first paragraph above deals with a SIGNAL, while the second deal with CONTENT. No one says the viewer must pay a fee to receive the broadcaster's signal. That is established law. The issue here is that Aereo is receiving the signal (as is their right) and then retransmitting the content and/or recording it for later viewing. Most significantly, they are charging viewers for the privledge. Since they are making money by distributing someone else's copyrighted material they must pay a fee to the copyright holder. This is also established law.

    The dispute that the SCOTUS has been asked to resolve is whether or not Aereo is, under the law, the entity receiving the content, or are they actually selling a physical space to keep an antenna and the viewer is actually doing the receiving. Were a single antenna assigned permanently to a single viewer, they would be on stronger ground. However, when viewer A stops using the antenna, that antenna (and all the attached computing and storage equipment) can be used by viewer B. The broadcasters maintain that this makes it a content delivery service, not a community antenna.
     
  5. May 8, 2014 #265 of 323
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    I disagree. Earlier you made the point about the difference between signal and content. Aereo would be on defensible ground if they were passing along the broadcaster's signal, instead of extracting the content out of the signal, and passing that along to the customer.
     
  6. May 8, 2014 #266 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Do you two (bicker and Diana Collins), and/or the law, have agreed-upon definitions of 'signal' and 'content'? From a technical standpoint there seems to be room for ambiguity. For example, does 'signal' mean the radio-frequency carrier modulated, for example using 8-VSB modulation with the transport stream that defines the video signal? (Or content?). Does 'content' mean the entire sequence of video, including commercials? Or does it mean just program content, which is the case in some contexts?

    Any further discussion without clear definitions is of questionable value.
     
  7. May 8, 2014 #267 of 323
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Active Member

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    Technically, the way the law is written, everything invoking copyrighted material is illegal, then exceptions are carved out. The question is whether any of the exceptions carved out for sports bars and Superbowl parties also apply to Aereo.

    But there is no section that says what Aereo is doing is legal, as some erroneously continue to argue.
     
  8. May 8, 2014 #268 of 323
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    And they can view them for free. But in the case of cable, they are not receiving them OTA. People aren't being forced to use cable.
     
  9. May 8, 2014 #269 of 323
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Aereo doesn't even dispute the fact that they're retransmitting. They're simply claiming that they're allowed to retransmit without permission or payment. They're claiming that they're not streaming content, but they are, just like online music services and just like remote DVR services. Let's not lose sight of the actual issue being decided: Aereo is essentially claiming that they are allowed to retransmit the signal, even without paying license for it initially (neither in the manner online music services pay license, nor in the manner providers of remote DVR services pay license).
     
  10. May 8, 2014 #270 of 323
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Active Member

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    There are no clear definitions on purpose. The law actually refers to the word "performance", which is "an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment" (Google.com). It's basically any performance, even if different actors and/or musicians are used. It's why tribute bands pay royalties and why I can't reenact each full episode of "Game of Thrones" and post it on Youtube.

    The only reason Aereo is still in business today is because a lower court took an extremely broad interpretation of the previous Cablevision cloud-DVR case:

    1. It ruled that simultaneously transmitting identical copies of the same performance 1,000 times to 1,000 different people did not constitute a public performance because it was one copy per person. But Aereo itself can be seen as retransmitting the performance to the public in general, with each performance essentially the same, and therefore you can argue that what Aereo is doing must be a single public performance.

    2. The consumer generally does not have the right to allow an unapproved (licensed by the content owner) third party to record or retransmit the performance for them. I don't think SCOTUS will "go there", because it might have unintended consequences. But everything is illegal in copyright law unless a specific exception (or SCOTUS ruling) has been granted, and there's no exception for this. Note that your cable company could offer a cloud-based DVR service, as cable companies are specifically excluded in copyright law and have been approved by the networks to retransmit their performances. Tivo is still covered because in-home video time shifting is covered in the Betamax case. But for Aereo, they are not approved and their time shifting does not occur within the home.
     
  11. May 8, 2014 #271 of 323
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    A legal definition? No.

    But the point I was trying to make is that all of the rules allowing individuals to receive and record broadcast content without additional charge is based upon the reception of a signal, not access to the content. Obviously, once received, the content is governed by regular copyright law. In the case of video content, this allows the individual to view, record and playback the content for their own personal enjoyment within the home. This is sometimes referred to (somewhat inaccurately) as "fair use." Any public display or re-transmission of the content, particularly in conjunction with a commercial enterprise, is prohibited without the express written consent of the copyright holder. This is why bars pay more for cable and satellite than an individual pays for the same content. In other words, once the broadcast has been received, the content is no longer "free to use" by anyone other than the original viewer.

    There is no such thing as "free" access to the broadcasters' content, only to the broadcast signal. Copyright law ALWAYS applies.

    If the receiving entity is NOT an individual, but rather a commercial enterprise of any kind, then there is no law, rule, judgement or judicial opinion that allows the reception and use of public broadcasts without the express written consent of the copyright holder.

    Therefore, it would seem that the only basis upon which the Court could find that Aereo is NOT violating copyright law is to find that Aereo is not receiving, using or re-transmitting the content. IMHO, that is a very difficult conclusion to draw, based upon the technology used and some of the statements made (some of Aereo's own comments included).
     
  12. May 8, 2014 #272 of 323
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Comcast is supposed to be using a cloud based dvr in Philly and Chicago with their X2 platform. And soon they plan to roll it out in other areas.

    And when I had a BoxeeTV 1.5 years ago, it also had a cloud based Dvr. I tried it out with hundreds of recordings in the cloud.
     
  13. May 8, 2014 #273 of 323
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    In Aereo's case, the cloud-based DVR makes sense, with MPEG-4 delivery over the internet, but for a cable company, the cloud-based DVR is idiotic, as it is a total waste of bandwidth that could be used for more channels, faster internet, and better HD quality. It also gives the user even less control. Obviously the idea situation is the customer owning their own DVR, like we all do.
     
  14. May 9, 2014 #274 of 323
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    From the cable company's perspective, a cloud based DVR saves a ton of money. No local DVR need be purchased, stocked, delivered, installed, refurbished or supported. The DVR is just a piece of software running at their facility. The fact that it also gives them control of playback (they can sell "no skip" protection to advertisers) and the ability to gather truly accurate stats of what is recorded, and how it is watched (great data to sell back to broadcasters and advertisers) are both bonus benefits. Far from being "idiotic," it is a potentially large source of both additional income and reduced cost. That's the Holy Grail of business investments.
     
  15. May 9, 2014 #275 of 323
    aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

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    They will also make sure consumers pay MORE for it. It's win win for them.
     
  16. May 9, 2014 #276 of 323
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Yep, yet another reason for them to hate Cablecard, or any standard IP access method that takes away control of the user experience.

    It's a damn shame that the FCC keeps letting them foot-drag out a card successor, it's not like it's rocket science.
     
  17. May 9, 2014 #277 of 323
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    They still need local boxes to be the endpoints, and now on top of that, they have to pay to run a huge farm of servers that before they just paid for once, handed out, and the customer had to pay for electricity and cooling. They could control playback on an MSO-provided DVR if they really wanted to. They control everything on the box.

    The bottom line though, is that it's a massive waste of bandwidth. It's like VOD-izing everything from a network perspective, and it requires a huge investment in node-splitting just to support the bandwidth to do it during peak usage hours. Even VOD is a huge waste of bandwidth, although stupid customers seem to like it, since apparently having a TiVo or DVR with Season Passes is too complicated for a lot of people.
     
  18. May 9, 2014 #278 of 323
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    Or VOD is used for people that hear about a good program after it played, or a news break-in caused the loss of a recorded program, I don't use VOD much but it is handy to have if I don't have to pay extra for it.

    If cable takes control of what we watch not when we watch than commercials will be in the picture as they are with VOD in many cases. Commercial skip is one of the important reasons I have a TiVo.
     
  19. aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

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    This could be done via a Roku or other cheap device (even a $35 Chromecast). Of course with a cable company a Chromecast would cost $8 per month.
     
  20. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    The companies in this space employ value-based pricing.
    http://lexicon.ft.com/Term?term=value_based-pricing

    With value-based pricing, none of the measures discussed with affect the pricing in the long-term, since only making the product less valuable would lower pricing, overall. What we're talking about, therefore, is just moving the cost around, from one bill to some other bill.
     

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