CEA: Supreme Court's Aereo Ruling Disappointing, but Narrow Focus and Affirmation of Sony Betamax Fair Use Doctrine Provide Some Solace for Innovation
"We are disappointed that the Supreme Court today ruled against innovator Aereo, but are pleased the Court said it favored future innovation and specifically referred to the Sony Betamax principles of fair use as a safety valve for new services and technologies."
Arlington, Va., June 25, 2014 - The following statement can be attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, regarding today's U.S. Supreme Court decision in the American Broadcasting Companies Inc. v. Aereo Inc. case:
"We are disappointed that the Supreme Court today ruled against innovator Aereo, but are pleased the Court said it favored future innovation and specifically referred to the Sony Betamax principles of fair use as a safety valve for new services and technologies. We especially appreciate Justice Scalia's powerful dissent describing how innovation is often opposed by incumbents who make false, 'the sky is falling' predictions about the future.
"We have concerns that the Court, although welcoming innovation, also declared that 'to the extent commercial actors…may be concerned with the relationship between the development and use of such technologies and the Copyright Act, they are of course free to seek action from Congress.' We believe laws should be clear and favor innovation. Innovators should not have to get ambiguous laws changed to give consumers new products and services.
"More, the decision raises issues on the future of broadcasting. Given that consumers are increasingly choosing to view content 'anytime/anywhere' on smartphones and tablets, and only six percent of Americans rely exclusively on over-the-air television, we question how much longer broadcasters can claim to justify their use of public spectrum when they oppose innovative services like Aereo which expand their viewing audience."
On April 4, CEA, in conjunction with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine Advocacy and Public Knowledge, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of Aereo.
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The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $208 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES - The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA's industry services. Find CEA online at CE.org, DeclareInnovation.com