Alexis V. Preskar, Legal Analyst at KJK’s Columbus office, authored, “The Wrong Decision at the Right Time: How Aereo and its Aftermath Exposed the Need for Change in the Copyright Act,” published in Capital University Law Review.
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case that will have a great effect on how Americans consume television and other media. In ABC, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. the Court held that Aereo’s system of providing remote antenna for customers to view broadcast television was copyright infringement. Among other issues of copyright jurisprudence, this decision highlighted a crucial flaw in the Copyright Act of 1976. As written and applied, the Act does not properly address or protect new technology like Aereo’s. For all of the issues with the decision, it has provided an opportunity for Congress to act and update the Communications Act as well as the Copyright Act to better fit new and emerging technology, such as streaming services. Specifically, Congress is considering expanding the definition of a multi-channel video programming distributor (MVPD) to include new technologies like Aereo, and this Note calls for Congress to similarly update the Copyright Act to provide clear and fair protections for both copyright holders and content distributors. Although Aereo was the wrong decision, it came at the right time. Congress is primed to act on the expanded definition of MVPD, and the emergence of new technologies, coupled with a steady shift in viewing preferences, signals that this is time to act to ensure meaningful change well into the future that will provide solutions for all involved.