Copyright expert: “Good riddance” to Aereo

Thomas Sydnor, visiting fellow with the America Enterprise Institute’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy and one-time copyright advisor to the Office of International Relations at the US Patent and Trademark Office, has suggested that Internet TV streaming service Aereo’s antenna-based operation was “nothing more than the latest example of technologically-inefficient means to commit what the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights might call ‘copyright piracy…on a commercial scale’”.

Writing for the Institute’s TechPolicyDaily, Sydor notes the October 23 decision federal district court nationwide injunction issued against Aereo, saying the decision once again bids “good riddance to bad rubbish”.

He says that for over a decade, a few rogue entities posing as ‘Internet entrepreneurs’ have impeded innovation by attempting to sacrifice technological efficiency in favour of mass piracy. “Their efforts have consistently failed. Consequently, Aereo now finds itself in the same dustbin of history as its equally inefficient comrades Aimster, Grokster, Morpheus, KaZaA, LimeWire, Hotfile, isoHunt, and, more recently, Grooveshark. All of these would-be Internet pirate-kings had one thing in common: they all tried to profit from mass piracy using means that made no sense from legal or technological perspectives,” he says.

He describes the District Court’s reasoning in ABC, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. as “a sound ruling” that was unlikely to be overturned. “But for the copyright owners and broadcasters who have already spent millions of dollars that they may never recover, the best part of this new decision may be the court’s expressed intent to resolve all remaining issues in the case – quickly,” he advises, suggesting that remaining issues are narrow.

He says the court deserves credit for its proposal quickly to resolve the remains of the case. “The sooner that it is resolved, the sooner potentially productive persons and resources will be redirected away from Aereo-and-LimeWire-like piracy schemes, and towards real, efficiency-enhancing, non-piratical innovations,” he concludes.

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