Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Quick thoughts on the Aereo judgment, more to come

I'll give a more full post imminently, but my initial thoughts

  1. The majority opinion is policy, not law. It's telling that they never once reference the prior precedent, Cablevision, except to note that it was the prior precedent. That means they're not giving any meaningful guidance, which is what you do when you're trying to reach a targeted result.
  2. Justice Scalia is 100% right: the Court's ruling replaces widely-accepted rules for service-provider liability with an improvised standard of "looks like cable TV".
  3. There is no reason to limit this reasoning to cable TV. Although the Court takes great pains to say it's not ruling on cloud computing or any other technology, I'm not talking about technology. I'm talking about a method of legal reasoning. If "looks like cable TV therefore is regulated like cable TV" is the test for determining the scope and ambit of a law, then why stop with cable TV? "Uber looks like a taxi therefore it should be regulated like a taxi and be forced to get medallions.". "Food trucks look like a restaurant therefore they should be regulated like a restaurant and be forced to provide restrooms."

Like I said, more to come, but especially #3 concerns me.

Aereo judgment