Copyright Office ponders Aereo fallout

The U.S. Copyright Office is asking the public to weigh in on what the Supreme Court’s ruling on streaming TV service Aereo means for the future of copyright law.

The office “is interested in commenters’ views regarding the Supreme Court’s opinion in Aereo and how that opinion may affect the scope of the rights of making available and communication to the public in the United States,” it said in a notice scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.

Specifically, the office asked how last month’s 6-3 decision affects “unauthorized filesharing,” the right to make content available and other aspects of copyright law.

The Copyright Office will be accepting comments from the public for 30 days. 

The formal request comes on the heels of a roundtable discussion on copyright law and communication in May, where participants “expressed a variety of views on a broad range of topics.”

Just a month after that, however, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Aereo case, which found the upstart television company guilty of violating broadcasters’ copyright licenses by retransmitting their programming to subscribers’ smartphones and computers without paying a fee.

The case was closely watched by the tech community and derided by some advocates, who feared it would lead to a clampdown on innovation. 

Since the court threw out Aereo’s previous business model, the company has turned to a more traditional cable TV approach, though it remains to be seen how effective that will be.