On Wednesday the Supreme Court handed down what amounts to a death sentence for Internet video startup Aereo.

Our panel of legal experts discussed the Supreme Court’s decision, reviewed the legal and policy arguments around Aereo, and examined the implications for the Internet and innovative online startups.

Date: Friday, June 27, 2014
Time: 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm. Program begins promptly at 12:00 pm, check-in starts at 11:40 am.
Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2237
Follow: @NetCaucusAC #ICACAereo

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  • Sandra Aistars, Chief Executive Officer, Copyright Alliance Bio
  • James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law Bio
  • Robert K. Kry, Partner, MoloLamken Bio
  • Matt Schruers, CCIA Bio
  • David Sohn, Center for Democracy & Technology, Moderator Bio

More About The Panel:

Aereo is a $100 million unique Internet startup service that streams live local TV broadcasts to users over the Internet for a fee. Utilizing user-dedicated tiny antennas Aereo grabs the broadcast TV stream at the user’s request and streams the video to that user. While the design of Aereo’s novel and “technologically complex service” struck many as specifically architected to comply with existing U.S. copyright and communications laws, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that it did not. The decision likely spells the end of Aereo the startup.

Opponents of Aereo’s service argued in court that it violates copyright laws, as Aereo doesn’t pay licensing fees. Others said if Aereo had won, the precedent would have mortally wounded the free broadcast TV business, forcing broadcasters to move to a pay-TV model.

While those folks are now applauding the decision as the correct result many technologists and startups entrepreneurs are finding the Court’s decision disquieting. Some legal scholars are calling the decision confusing, baffling and a threat to innovation. In fact the Chairs of the House Judiciary and Commerce Committees respectively pointed to the decision as evidence of the need for Congress to review copyright and communications law.

This widely attended educational briefing is hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (ICAC), part of a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization. Congressional staff and members of the press welcome. The ICAC is a private sector organization comprised of public interest groups, trade associations, non-profits, and corporations. The ICAC takes no positions on legislation or regulation. Rather, it’s a neutral platform where thought leaders debate important technology issues that shape legislative and administration policy in an open forum. We vigilantly adhere to our mission to curate balanced and dynamic debates among Internet stakeholders. Our volunteer board members ensure that we dutifully execute that mission. More information on the ICAC is available at http://netcaucus.org.