Tech at Night: The Supreme Court lets the government side against Aereo innovation

Tech at Night

So the Aereo case went to the Supreme Court, and it’s official: Aereo lost, and may be killed as the result of government. Naturally I agree with the three justice minority of Antonin Scalia, Sam Alito, and Clarence Thomas. Clarence Thomas is the kind of guy that, if he rules against what I thought was right, I’ll doublecheck to see if I was wrong. And he voted with Scalia.


Turns out there’s some real gold in the dissent, too. Justice Scalia could write Tech at Night.

Read this, from page 10 of the Scalia dissent:

Making matters worse, the Court provides no criteria for determining when its cable-TV-lookalike rule applies. Must a defendant offer access to live television to qualify? If similarity to cable-television service is the measure, then the answer must be yes. But consider the implications of that answer: Aereo would be free to do exactly what it is doing right now so long as it built mandatory time shifting into its “watch” function. Aereo would not be providing live television if it made subscribers wait to tune in until after a show’s live broadcast ended. A subscriber could watch the 7 p.m. airing of a 1-hour program any time after 8 p.m. Assuming the Court does not intend to adopt such a do-nothing rule (though it very well may), there must be some other means of identifying who is and is not subject to its guilt-by-resemblance regime.

So what we’re seeing with the courts here is that the government is using old laws, that are out of step with new technologies, in order to protect entrenched interests at the expense of innovators. The innovators are specifically barred from specific things in a capricious way, showing a total lack of understanding of what the heck is going on in the field, and what the capabilities are today.

Interestingly, Scalia’s dissent also hints that yes, the Communications Act needs improvements, though of course that doesn’t mean we need an all-singing, all-dancing, comprehensive bill.


Note though that one key element of the majority’s decision is that you don’t get to use someone else’s creative works without paying for it. Well… guess exactly what radio broadcasters do these days? Here we see the NAB arguing one side with Aereo, and the other side in the House, arguing radio stations shouldn’t have to pay for what they use, as they fight for legislation to that effect.

NAB likes being a winner in the government winners and losers racket. They’re overpaid, underworked middlemen created by government, the same way alcohol distributors are.

Funny how they claim broadcasting gives ‘free advertising.’ Imagine of Aereo had claimed their service was ‘free advertising.’

It’s the same way with taxis versus Uber and Lyft, who are banned in Virginia now under the great and powerful Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe.

It’s the same way with existing parcel delivery services being protected against drone competition.

Government is always slow on the uptake of new technology, but it always happens to fall behind in favor of the big, established guy, against the little upstart. Funny, that.

I’ll even side with Google against the anarchist scum. The blackshirts oppose our way of life, as surely as every other radical does. Notice how these guys are definitely not libertarians, as they had no respect for Google’s property rights.

Just as Edward Snowden is helping Vlad Putin now, he would nave helped Hitler during World War II by exposing ENIGMA and how the resistances were working with us.


Why do we need to keep ICANN? Because the whole rest of the world would love to censor Internet domains, and only we are sufficient as the guardians of Internet liberty.

So the Supreme Court also extended the warrant need to phones.

I think the RESPECT Act is a good idea, but it doesn’t go far enough. Let’s apply it to AM and FM radio, not just Internet radio. Make them pay for what they use, the same way the rest of us have to.

Net(flix) Neturality is just a new way to pick winners and losers.

Man, oh man. Remember how anyone who dared criticize Aaron Swartz’s unrepentant behavior with respect to his criminal activities, was called horrible and insensitive because he killed himself rather than face the prison sentence he had coming, after refusing to plea bargain?

Well now we’re seeing multiple organizations playing Weekend at Bernie’s with his body in order to raise money or get traffic. MoveOn really is that desperate and shameless, I guess.


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