Where did cable TV come from?

Literature, Politics

The ABC vs. Aereo Supreme Court case opinion was a very intriguing read. Breyer, J. recounts the history of cable television, CATV. I have vague recollections of community access television, but it turns out that they started as giant antennas that picked up other public channels from very far away, and eventually from very very far away. Broadcasters lobbied congress to classify CATV as in the same broadcasting boat as the people who had to pay fees and sort out a lot of red tape to “perform” copyrighted material. Simply fascinating…

Most shocking is how the conservative judges dissented against the ruling in favor of broadcasters, arguing that the court should have made a ruling based on what Aereo actually did with the captured content, rather than a judgement based on how Aereo strongly resembled a cable company—the kind of entity the laws congress passed were meant to target. Scalia has a good point that it’s more important to pay attention to the actual effect of a law rather than its intention.

What say you?

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