The Obama administration has sided with television broadcasters in their bid to shut down video-streaming site Aereo.
In a brief to the Supreme Court, the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office said that Aereo’s “unauthorized Internet retransmissions” violate copyright law.
The filing is a major blow to Aereo, which allows customers to watch and record broadcast TV on their computers, mobile devices, or Internet-connected TVs for a monthly fee. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on April 22.
Unlike cable and satellite providers, Aereo doesn’t pay the TV networks for their content. The company uses tiny antennas to pick up over-the-air TV signals and transmits that video to its customers over the Internet.
ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and other broadcasters claim Aereo is stealing their content, while the video site says it is only making it easier for consumers to access free TV channels.
The Obama administration concluded that Aereo’s service is an “integrated system” that is stealing the copyrighted content.
“The fact that as part of that system [Aereo] uses unique copies and many individual transmissions does not alter the conclusion that it is retransmitting broadcast content ‘to the public,’ ” the Solicitor General’s Office wrote. “Like its competitors, [Aereo] therefore must obtain licenses to perform the copyrighted content on which its business relies.”
The office rejected Aereo’s argument that siding with the broadcasters would endanger the legality of cloud computing and other techniques for accessing copyrighted content remotely.
“A consumer’s playback of her own lawfully acquired copy of a copyrighted work to herself will ordinarily be a non-infringing private performance, and it may be protected by fair-use principles as well,” the government wrote. Aereo customers, by contrast, have no right to obtain the TV content through the service, according to the filing.
The Solicitor General said the conclusion that Aereo is illegal “should not call into question the legitimacy of businesses that use the Internet to provide new ways for consumers to store, hear, and view their own lawfully acquired copies of copyrighted works.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit sided with Aereo last year, and another federal judge in Boston also declined to shut down the company. But a federal judge in Utah sided with the broadcasters this year.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”