Sorry to be snarky about Utah, but this New Yorker gets a bit peeved when a 10th Circuit court decides to ignore the well-settled jurisprudence of the most sophisticated intellectual property Appellate Circuit in the country (talking about my dear old 2nd Cir.).
Seriously, so far every other federal court in the nation has gone along with the 2nd Circuit’s decision in The Cartoon Network LP v. CSC Holdings, Inc. (the “Cablevision” decision), holding that Aereo’s system of assigning a discreet antenna to every individual user who wants to watch Fox broadcasting avoids a violation of Fox’s public performance rights. Utah has decided that the 10th Circuit does not like such technicalities:
“Based on the plain language of the 1976 Copyright Act and the clear intent of Congress, this court concludes that Aereo is engaging in copyright infringement of Plaintiffs’ programs,” wrote U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball in a ruling issued on Wednesday. “Despite its attempt to design a device or process outside the scope of the 1976 Copyright Act, Aereo’s device or process transmits Plaintiffs’ copyrighted programs to the public.”
Kimball, in fact, wrote that the 2nd Circuit in New York had “proceeded to spin the language” of the Copyright Act’s transmit clause, the legislative history and prior case law into “a complicated web.”
The Aereo case is up before the Supreme Court on April 22. Hopefully we’ll see a nationwide resolution on copyright law and new technologies then.
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