Supremes Deck Aereo (And The Public)



Radio was first; nobody could figure out a means for collecting money for radio broadcasts so they were free to consumers, subsidized by advertisers. Then came TV with the same setup — until cable. Cable can charge fees for service and if you don’t pay, cut you off. A new paradigm and a new competitor for broadcasting.

If cable wants to use old broadcast shows, it can pay a copyright fee and rerun them all summer; much cheaper than producing new shows. We’re used to that, now.

A spoiler turned up recently: Aereo. Aereo grabbed broadcast TV off the air and sent it to your iphone or tablet or computer for a very small, monthly fee, maybe $8 or so. You could watch or record for later watching. Aereo turned this into a  viable market.

So the lawsuits began and ended in the Supreme Court, which just decided that must be illegal because Aereo wasn’t paying any rights fee. Very conservative Justice Scalia disagreed, vehemently.

We are reminded of an older brouhaha between broadcast and cable TV lobbyists in Congress. The only losers then, per one observer, were taxpayers. To determine the loser from the new decision, you may wish to read Justice Scalia’s comments and decide for yourself. (See link above)

Our own take on this is a question: If we are supposed to have a competitive economy, the broadcasters can provide the service Aereo is providing, mostly because he broadcasters are not providing it. Nobody is prevented from doing this until suddenly now, Aereo is prevented by the Court. Now, Aereo won’t have employees doing this anymore in an economy that needs jobs. So, should this be any business of government?

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Competition, Law, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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