Lawyer Janet Johnson: Court Decision on Aereo 'Wrong'

Wednesday, 25 Jun 2014 05:21 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Supreme Court's decision to pull the plug on the TV-streaming service Aereo is a backward-thinking decision, says Janet Johnson, a criminal defense lawyer in Florida.

"It's wrong. To me it harkens back to the Betamax decision, which is 30, 40 years old at this point,'' Johnson told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"No one has Betamax anymore, but at the cutting-edge time when Betamax came out, there were people who argued you're stealing our content and the Supreme Court said no, this is technology, and basically you have to keep up with it," she said Wednesday.

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In its 6-3 decision, the court ruled Wednesday that Aereo, backed by media czar Barry Diller, is violating the copyrighted work of TV networks by streaming their content to subscribers.

The service allowed consumers to stream and record broadcast TV programs over the Internet through small antennas. The company argued its service was similar to the rabbit ears once used to pull in TV signals.

Johnson argued that Aereo is just the next advancement in technology, just as Betamax and VCR recorders were in their day.

"This court, I don't think, gets that this is technology, and so they said, 'No, you look like a cable company, you act like a cable company, so we're going to treat you like one, and we're going to shoot you down,'' she said.

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