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Table of Contents - May 1, 2014

Justices Seek Approach In Aereo Case That Doesn't Capture Cloud Offerings

With varying degrees of apparent concern, six members of the Supreme Court asked attorneys arguing on April 22 in broadcasters' challenge of Aereo, Inc.'s online TV streaming service to distinguish the allegedly copyright-infringing actions of Aereo from other services - especially various forms of cloud computing - that many observers and intervenors have warned would be threatened if Aereo loses.

The justices asked how they could designate what Aereo does as a "public performance" under the 1976 Copyright Act without implicating everything from cloud storage services to companies that deliver physical copies of music - such as "phonograph records."

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Judges Appear Skeptical Of Mass Copyright Lawsuit

During an April 14 oral argument, three federal appellate court judges questioned the reasoning of a company in bringing suit for alleged online copyright infringement in the District of Columbia against individuals who access the Internet in other jurisdictions.

Circuit Judge David S. Tatel, who presided over the oral argument at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in AF Holdings LLC v. Does 1-1058, questioned the argument by AF Holdings that using geolocation technology to determine the location of the alleged infringers was not accurate enough to be an alternative to seeking discovery from the Internet service providers (ISPs). Judge Tatel said that he had tried the geolocation approach, using his own Internet address and that of his colleagues on the bench, and was accurately informed that they were in the District of Columbia.

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