The Consumer Electronics Association said Monday that it is backing Aereo in its copyright battle against CBS (NYSE: CBS), NBC, Fox and 14 other broadcasters that are attempting to shutter its platform that delivers live feeds from 20 New York TV stations to smartphones, tablets and other IP-connected devices.
The lobbying group said it filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in support of Aero. In the brief, CEA cites the 1984 Sony Betamax case, which allowed Sony (NYSE: SNE) and other CE manufacturers to sell VCRs to TV viewers despite protests from Hollywood studios. In a statement issued Monday, CEA CEO Gary Shapiro called the Betamax case “the Magna Carta decision of our industry defining the full recording of broadcast television as a fair use and allowing innovation in technology.”
“In Sony, it was time shifting broadcasting by a VCR; in Aereo, it is accessing free broadcasting through a computer. In both cases, the technology expands the audience, is consistent with broadcaster-borrowed use of public spectrum for free, over-the-air broadcasting and is being challenged as it is disruptive, new and not allowing consumer control by old industries,” Shapiro added.