Aereo: a parable

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Your neighbor is unable to get TV reception from his property, but you can get it from yours. He asks you if he can put his antenna on your house and runs a cable from it to his house. He offers to pay you $10 a month for the trouble.

Wouldn’t it be silly if the government stepped in to prevent you from making that transaction?

Now that same neighbor decides the long cable isn’t working out. It’s ugly, and the squirrels keep chewing through it. He comes over and replaces the long cable with a short cable plugged into a Slingbox and a DVR so he can watch from home without those pesky squirrels interrupting The Bachelorette.

Two technologies legal to combine in his house, he’s just moved them 50 feet to the other side of the fence.

Three of your neighbors hear about your arrangement. They all bring their own antennas and Slingboxes over and set them up the same way.

Nothing’s changed from your single neighbor, you’ve just got more antennas.

Later 10 more neighbors want to join in, but you decide that having all these neighbors coming over, traipsing through your begonias, and installing their own antennas is a pain in the ass. So you buy 10 antennas and 10 Slingboxes and 10 DVRs yourself, install them and give those 10 neighbors each access to one of them.

Now you’re Aereo and the Supreme Court says you’re violating copyright law.

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