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Table of Contents - July 15, 2014

Supreme Court Finds Aereo Infringes Copyrights of Broadcasters, Cites Resemblance to Cable

The Supreme Court in a 63 decision has held that Aereo, Inc.'s online TV streaming service infringes on the copyrights of broadcasters and other rights holders when it sends broadcast signals over the Internet to individual subscribers, in violation of the "transmit" clause of the Copyright Act.

In an opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer that relies heavily on the resemblance of Aereo's service to cable TV services, the court rejected Aereo's arguments that its service does not constitute a public performance within the meaning of the Copyright Act, as each video stream is received by a separate antenna and sent individually to a requesting subscriber, and that Aereo is merely renting equipment (antennas and server space) to subscribers, who make the decision to stream a particular program to themselves.

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Judge: County Doesn't Own FirstNet E-mails

E-mails from a member of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) sent from a county e-mail address and stored on a county government's servers do not belong to the county, but rather to the federal government, and hence the county cannot release them in response to a journalist' s public records request, according to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (Central Division).

Story County, Iowa, had argued that under Iowa's Public Records Act, it should be able to release e-mails to and from FirstNet board member Paul Fitzgerald, the county's sheriff, that were sent from and received by his county e-mail address. The Department of Justice had argued that Mr. Fitzgerald's e-mails are the property of the federal government and asked the court to prohibit Story County from releasing them to the news media.

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