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Free Expression

Aereo Opinion Leaves Open Questions for Cloud Computing

The US Supreme Court issued its decision in ABC v. Aereo today, holding that Aereo’s Internet-based television service publicly performs copyrighted works by allowing users to tune in over the Internet.

“The stakes in this case went well beyond television. The court heard that message, and responded with an opinion that attempts to limit its application to TV. In doing that, however, the decision fails to provide much clarity regarding how future courts should analyze emerging technologies,” noted CDT General Counsel David Sohn.

“And while the decision doesn’t directly undermine cloud computing, it leaves open significant questions about the legal foundations of cloud-based services. The full impact of today’s decision will take time, and possibly additional litigation, to sort out,” Sohn continued.

The law shouldn’t discriminate against cloud-based technologies. And copyright law shouldn’t prevent consumers from using online services to store and transmit their own personal media back to themselves. CDT believes today’s decision is consistent with those principles, and we hope that future courts will interpret the law that way as they address questions left open by this case.

The amicus brief CDT filed in the case together with leading technology trade associations can be found here: