The Hillicon Valley blog posted an article discussing how television broadcasters may try to drag Congress into its legal battle with Aereo. Aereo has a business model that uses tiny antennas to pick up television broadcast signals and then reroute these signals over the Internet to their subscribers.
Broadcasters have been throwing a hissy fit over Aereo’s potential ability to avoid paying retransmission fees to broadcasters. Broadcasters have been making the argument that they can’t survive on just advertising revenues should the retransmission fee revenue stream be eroded by Aereo’s services.
Some broadcasters are arguing that what Aereo is doing may even be in violation of copyright laws, and if not, that Congress should pass statutes further cementing broadcasters’ intellectual property rights.
In my opinion, if Congress and the Federal Communications Commission are serious about reallocating spectrum through reverse auctions, they should keep their dogs out of this fight. Aereo’s business model would erode the value of spectrum to broadcasters and increase pressure on them to indirectly sell their spectrum to wireless carriers via auction or better yet, petition the FCC to approve license transfers directly to wireless carriers outside of the auction process.
Either way wireless carriers could get spectrum faster and at a lower cost and consumer welfare could be further expanded in the wireless and broadcast television markets without any intervention by the government.
Go on with your bad self, Aereo.