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American Broadcasting Cos. V. Aereo, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
573 U.S. ___ (2014)


Facts

Aereo, Inc. (Aereo) (defendant) offered broadcast-television programming to paying subscribers through the Internet. Aereo neither owned the copyrights to the programs nor held a license from the copyright owners. To watch the programming, a subscriber would visit Aereo’s website and select a program. Aereo’s servers would then tune an antenna to the broadcast. A subscriber-specific folder would be created on Aereo’s servers that would hold a copy of the broadcast. Aereo would then stream the saved copy of the show to the subscriber. American Broadcasting Cos. (plaintiff) sued for copyright infringement. Aereo argued that copyright law was not applicable to its actions. Aereo claimed that it merely supplied equipment, and that the subscribers were the ones who transmitted the performance. Thus, according to Aereo, any liability rested solely on its subscribers.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

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