Posts by Eric Null
Public Knowledge wants to protect viewers' right to have
control over how they watch TV. But some major broadcasters are trying to take
that control away from you. They've turned to the courts to stall innovation
and shut down services that give users control. PK has been fighting back.
On Friday, PK (with EFF and CEA) filed an amicus
brief defending Aereo in a suit some broadcasters brought against it. Aereo
makes it easier for people to watch free, over-the-air TV—something that has
become more challenging for some after the broadcast transition to clearer, but
less reliable, digital signals. The broadcasters want to argue changing the
location of an individual antenna from on top of a TV or a roof is illegal, and
that Aereo's "remote antenna" system should be shut down.
There has been a flurry of activity around Internet freedom
recently. Not only have both parties
included it in their platform, but Rep. Zoe Lofgren has taken an affirmative
step in its favor by proposing the Global Free Internet Act of 2012, H.R.
6530 (a predecessor
bill called the “One Global Internet Act” was proposed by Lofgren in 2010 with bipartisan
support). The newly proposed bill does not directly change substantive law.
Recently, arguments against network neutrality as a
“solution in search of a problem” have resurfaced (recently subscribed to by Mitt
Romney’s campaign, recently argued by Verizon
in its challenge to the Open Internet Order, and also argued here
People who make this argument essentially claim either (1) discrimination predicted
by Public Knowledge (and the FCC) will never actually come to pass, or (2)
discrimination can be benign or even beneficial.
Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief with the
Central District of California today in Fox
v. Dish, a case that could threaten how consumers record and view
programming in the privacy of their home. While this case is only in the
preliminary injunction stage, these pre-trial stages have become increasingly
important in copyright cases. Consequently, this case has the potential to
upend long-standing fair use principles.
The case involves DISH’s “Hopper,” one of DISH’s set-top boxes. The Hopper can
be set (by the customer) to record prime-time television on any of the four
major broadcast channels. For some programming, the Hopper gives viewers the
option to play back the programming without commercials beginning the following