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Will Aereo Case Force a Rewrite of Communications and Copyright Laws?

Will Aereo Case Force a Rewrite of Communications and Copyright Laws?
Product Code - LGN224
Speaker(s): Seth A. Davidson, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP; Kevin M. Goldberg, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC; Scott R. Flick, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
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Aereo has shaken the very foundation of the television business in the United States. How? By seizing on consumers’ growing appetite to watch live broadcast programming but not pay for cable TV service.

The company’s business model is simple: It uses tiny antennas to capture over-the-air broadcast signals and then re-stream them via the Internet, to be viewed by consumers on any device of their choosing—smartphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi-enabled TVs—all for a very low price per month. Since debuting in New York City in February 2012, Aereo has launched its service in Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Salt Lake City, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, and Baltimore.

Not surprisingly, the sheer existence of Aereo has raised deep concerns within the broadcasting and cable industries. The big networks have sued to shut down Aereo’s service and prevent further expansion, but so far the courts have sided with Aereo.

The matter is now before the Supreme Court. A final decision will unquestionably have far-reaching implications for communications and copyright law. Many in Washington have been watching the lawsuits closely, and any court ruling that favors Aereo could force lawmakers to begin discussions in earnest about a rewrite of the Communications Act and the Copyright Act.

Attend this program to hear attorneys from three leading firms discuss the impact of Aereo and its ongoing legal dispute with broadcasters in both the media and copyright worlds.

Educational Objectives:

• Receive a detailed explanation of Aereo’s present and future impact to the over-the-air broadcast and cable TV distribution businesses;
• Hear an analysis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision in WNET v. Aereo, in which the court ultimately concluded that Aereo’s live streams of TV shows are not materially distinguishable from a Cablevision Systems Corp. remote digital video recording service;
• Discover the state of play at the Supreme Court; and
• Learn about the potential effects of a Supreme Court ruling favoring Aereo, which include a congressional push to rewrite the Communications Act and the Copyright Act.

Who would benefit most from attending this program?

Counsel advising communications and broadcasting companies; professionals involved in media ownership and regulation; intellectual property practitioners.

Program Level: Intermediate
Prerequisite: A general understanding of current telecommunications issues and copyright law.
CPE Delivery Method: Group Internet-Based Live
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge and Applications
Recommended CPE Credit: 1.5 credits
Anticipated CLE Credit: 1.5 credits (may vary based on from which location requested)

For additional information, please see the “CE Credit” tab.

Seth A. Davidson, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP; Kevin M. Goldberg, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC; Scott R. Flick, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Seth A. Davidson, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP
Seth Davidson, a partner with his firm, counsels clients on legislative and regulatory issues of interest to the cable, satellite, broadcast, and Internet industries. His areas of emphasis include both communications and copyright law, and he frequently handles matters arising before the Federal Communications Commission and the Copyright Office as well as Congress.

Mr. Davidson has played an active role, including drafting legislation and witness testimony, in most legislative matters affecting the communications industry over the past three decades, including the 1984 and 1992 Cable Acts, the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995, the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1989 and each of its subsequent renewals. In 2004, he was singled out by the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for his contributions in the drafting of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act. In 2010, Seth testified before the New York City Council on the issue of broadcast signal retransmission consent rights.

Mr. Davidson also has participated in the drafting of comments and presentation of clients’ positions on most of the rulemaking proceedings before the FCC and Copyright Office affecting cable television and satellite companies since the 1980s, including rulemakings relating to broadcast signal carriage, equipment compatibility, rate regulation and access to programming. He also played a key role in the successful effort to convince the Office of Management and Budget to block the implementation of “leased access” rules in 2008. Mr. Davidson has drafted briefs in appellate litigation before both the United States Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Seth also has successfully defended cable operators in FCC complaint proceedings involving rate, signal carriage, and programming related issues.

Mr. Davidson earned a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, where he served on the Board of Editors of the Law Review, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Virginia. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia.

Scott R. Flick, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Scott Flick is a partner in his firm's Communications practice in the Washington, D.C. office. He focuses on legal matters impacting mass media, programming, telecommunications, and technology companies, as well as non-communications companies faced with issues in the communications and entertainment fields. Mr. Flick represents broadcast stations, media companies, and networks before the federal government and assists them on transactional, regulatory, business, litigation, policy and technology matters. His practice addresses issues involving broadcast, cable and satellite television; radio; Internet; media technologies; advertising; program production and distribution; program rights; and related intellectual property issues. He litigates communications-related matters, and obtains changes in federal law and policy on behalf of clients. Mr. Flick has successfully litigated numerous precedent-setting cases, including matters related to cable program retransmission and the toll free number transfers. He has also worked with municipalities and public utilities seeking to build and operate broadband video and data distribution systems, structuring such ventures to operate in the current regulatory framework.

Mr. Flick earned a J.D. from the University of California—Los Angeles School of Law and a B.A. in Telecommunications from Indiana University. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and California.

Kevin M. Goldberg, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC
Kevin Goldberg is a member of his firm. His expertise is in First Amendment, Freedom of Information Act, and intellectual property issues, particularly copyright and trademark matters encountered by content creators and users, with a particular eye toward threats affecting publication on the Internet and social media.

Mr. Goldberg has had a hand in the drafting and passage of several major bills revising the federal Freedom of Information Act, similar state acts, state laws affecting defamation, copyright, and personal privacy. He has prepared or assisted in the preparation of testimony for members of client organizations testifying before the United States Congress and has himself testified regarding Freedom of Information Act implementation.

Mr. Goldberg assists his firm’s clients -- especially its broadcast and Internet clients -- on a wide variety of intellectual property matters. In addition to filing applications for federal and state copyright and trademark registrations, he advises clients on the steps which can be taken to avoid copyright and trademark infringement liability while maximizing their own rights. Specific to broadcast stations, this includes compliance with the statutory license applicable to webcasting, as well as undertaking negotiations with the major performing rights organizations which license use of musical works (ASCAP/BMI/SESAC). Mr. Goldberg is also adept at writing Terms of Use and Privacy Policies for client websites which avail themselves of all legal protections including, specifically, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Mr. Goldberg’s interest in the First Amendment stems from an undergraduate major in Communications, with a focus on TV/Radio and Journalism, at Kevin regularly extends this expertise beyond his clients. He is an adjunct professor at George Mason University, where he teaches an upper-level course in Journalism Law. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia's Public Access Television Corporation, a member of the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Open Government Coalition, a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the National Press Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Participation Project, a member of the Board of Directors of United for DC (the charitable arm of the DC United soccer team), and was formerly the Chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Media Law Resource Center. Mr. Goldberg has been inducted into the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame for his continued and superlative service in pursuit of open government. He was also a member of the United States delegation to the International Telecommunications Union's Plenipotentiary Conference in Turkey in 2006.

Mr. Goldberg attended law school at George Washington University, from which he graduated with high honors and received the Imogene Williford award as the outstanding constitutional law student in his graduating class, and James Madison University, from which he graduated magna cum laude.

This program’s CLE-credit eligibility varies by state. Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in the states of New York*, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, and most other jurisdictions grant CLE credit on a per-program basis. At this time, Bloomberg BNA does not apply directly to the states of Florida, Rhode Island, Montana and Hawaii although credit is usually available for attorneys who wish to apply individually. Additionally, the following states currently do not grant credit for Bloomberg BNA OnDemand programming: Arkansas, Ohio, Nebraska, and Delaware. All requests are subject to approval once the live webinar has taken place or the customer has viewed the OnDemand version. Please contact the Bloomberg BNA accreditations desk if you have specific questions that have not been addressed.

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