Warner Bros Slapped With Second ‘Conjuring’ Rights Lawsuit By Producer

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 4:08pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEHard to tell if it’s more paralegal than paranormal but something is definitely haunting The Conjuring franchise Warner Bros is trying to create. Today the studio and its New Line division were the conjuringamong the defendants named in another breach of contract lawsuit by producer Tony DeRosa-Grund and his Evergreen Media. This time 87-year-old Lorraine Warren herself, whose investigations into the seemingly supernatural with her late husband were the basis for last year’s thriller, was also listed as a defendant. Filed in federal court in Texas like last month’s suit, today’s complaint (read it here) seeking a jury trial also wants to stop any sequels going forward; a declaratory judgment of rights; and a series of unspecified actual, punitive and statutory damages likely to run into the millions. And what does the other side say? “We have not been served,” a WB spokesman told me today.

Related: Warner Bros Hit With ‘Conjuring’ Rights Lawsuit, Lionsgate Exited TV Series Deal

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Hot Tribeca Trailer: ‘Iverson’

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 9:51am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Allen Iverson was one of the most controversial players the NBA has ever had. He was also one of the best shooters to ever hit the court, an 11-time All Star and the 2001 MVP. Now officially retired, the former Philadelphia 76er is the subject of a docu … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘The Voice’ & ‘Glee’ Dip, ‘Supernatural’ Surges, ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ & ‘About A Boy’ Steady

shakira april 22There were spies on ABC but it was truly show time on Fox and NBC last night. With its first live elimination show of Season 6, last night’s The Voice (2.7/9) rolled out a sizzling performance from mentor Shakira as well as cutting two contestants. Coming off its lowest Monday result ever and with the return of the Twitter instant save for a second season, the singing competition show was down 10% from last Tuesday. That’s a new low for the show in terms of regular episodes. Still, The Voice was the top-rated and most watched show of the night with 10.95 million watching. While NBC likely doesn’t want those standings to change, it might see a change in The Voice’s 18-49 rating later in the day when the final numbers come in – the show has commonly seen an adjustment upward from the preliminaries. With its 9:01 PM Voice spillover start, freshman About A Boy (1.9/6) saw a 6% bop up from last week in preliminary ratings. Fellow newbie Growing Up Fisher (1.5/4) was even with last week’s low.  Getting a 1.8/5 among the 18-49s, NBC was No. 1 last night with an all-encore CBS coming in tops in total viewers with 9.41 million watching. CBS’ NCIS repeat was the second-most-watched show of Tuesday’s primetime after The Voice with an audience of 10.42 million.
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UPDATE: Post Crew On NBC’s ‘Last Comic Standing’ Win IATSE Contract

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 8:14pm PDT

last-comic-standing__140321195619-275x340__140421164340UPDATE, 8:14 PM: No joke — the strike is over. After a day-and-a-half labor action on the part of the Motion Picture Editors GuildIATSE Local 700, the postproduction crew of Last Comic Standing now have a union contract, I’ve learned. With that over, everybody is heading back to work tomorrow on the soon-to-debut NBC reboot. The roughly 15 editors, assistant editors and other briefly striking post employees have won the health and retirement benefits IA700Bug__130219205555-150x150__131123212333__140421164529plus vacation and holiday pay they sought when they walked out on Monday. A day of picketing today outside the Glendale postproduction facility of the NBC Studios show also saw significant wage increases for the assistant editors. Last Comic Standing is set to premiere on May 22.

1625566_747449085300490_4296235683794707443_nPREVIOUS, APRIL 21, AM: Just more than a month before its reboot is set to debut, NBC‘s Last Comic Standing today has been knocked down by a labor action. About 15 editors and assistant editors walked off the job today in a no-joke strike organized by the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, I’ve learned. Hired by NBC Studios on a non-union basis, the editors are seeking a union contract that includes industry-standard health insurance and pension benefits. Read More »

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Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Gawker Suit Tossed But Not Dead

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 6:10pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEJust days after a triumphant live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script, Quentin Tarantino today took a hit in his copyright infringement lawsuit against Gawker over the site’s promotion and dissemination of the leaked material. Film Independent Presents The World Premiere Of A Staged Reading By Quentin Tarantino: "The Hateful Eight"“The Court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion on the grounds that Plaintiff has failed to adequately plead facts establishing direct infringement by a third party or facts that would demonstrate Defendant either caused, induced, or materially contributed to the alleged direct infringement of those third party infringers,” said Judge John Walter today in an order (read it here) on Gawker’s motion to dismiss. Essentially, by not being able to display a particular case of infringement facilitated by Gawker’s actions, the judge decided the director has nothing solid to move forward with.

Related: Tarantino’s Staged ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading Reveals Pic Not Dead

“Plaintiff merely speculates that some direct infringement must have taken place,” says Walter. “For example, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to allege the identity of a single third-party infringer, the date, the time, or the details of a single instance of third-party infringement, or, more importantly, how Defendant allegedly caused, induced, or materially contributed to the infringement by those third parties.” Read More »

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Chief Justice Slams Aereo At Supreme Court Hearing

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT

Aereo Supreme Court HearingIf you thought that the legal dispute between Aereo and the broadcasters was combative, it paled compared with today’s one-hour hearing at the Supreme Court. In oral arguments before the nine Justices, both sides took some heavy blows, but the Barry Diller-backed streaming service definitely took one to the jaw from Chief Justice John Roberts. “Your technological model is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don’t want to comply with,” Roberts told Aereo attorney David Frederick during the presentation before a packed chamber. “There’s no reason for you to have 10,000 dime-sized antennas except to get around the Copyright Act,” he said. Added Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: ”You are the only player so far that pays no royalties whatsoever.”

Coming after arguments from the broadcasters by former Solicitor General Paul Clement and current Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart, Frederick started off his presentation by saying “this is a reproduction rights issue masquerading as a public performance case.” The Justices didn’t seem to buy it.

Related: The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

supremecourt__121107013841__140419194659Despite Roberts’ comments, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer were by far the most inquisitive during the presentation with concerns over cloud computing taking up almost as much time as the copyright issue at the heart of the lawsuit filed by an armada of Big Media companies — including CBS, Disney, Fox, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal — as well as the federal government. “I don’t understand if the decision I write for or against you will affect other technologies,” Breyer told Frederick. ”It’s not your problem — but it might be,” Breyer deadpanned to a big laugh from the courtroom.

SCOTUSSummary“I think the cloud was the winner today,” MPAA boss Christopher Dodd said after the hearing. “But I think the Justices see Aereo as gimmicky and want to address that.” Dodd’s comments mirrored remarks made by Clement during the presentation.

Related: Aereo Case Reactions: Did CBS Shares Fall In Response To Supreme Court’s Questions?

During Clement’s three-minute rebuttal at the end of the hearing, Sotomayor directly asked the lawyer about the consequences of a potential ruling. “If it’s just a gimmick, then they deserve to go out of business and no one should shed a tear,” Clement said of Aereo’s prospects should it lose at the high court. The lawyer added that if Aereo’s technology was innovative, it would persevere in one form or another regardless.

Said Frederick in a statement after the presentation: “We’re confident, cautiously optimistic, based on the way the hearing went today that the Court understood that a person watching over-the-air broadcast television in his or her home is engaging in a private performance and not a public performance that would implicate the Copyright Act.”

Originally scheduled to start at 11 AM ET, today’s hearing was pushed back 30 minutes because of readings of other opinions from the bench. In the sundrenched chamber with its strategically lit red velvet drapes and engraved marble walls, almost all of the nine Justices asked questions from their high-backed chairs. As is common, the only Justice not to ask a question was Clarence Thomas, though he did take time during the presentation to whisper asides to Justice Antonin Scalia.

The court likely will rule by late June. Read More »

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Aereo Supreme Court Preview With Dominic Patten: Podcast

By and | Monday April 21, 2014 @ 12:05pm PDT

Aereo badgeWill the Supreme Court back upstart tech company Aereo in its bid to short-cut broadcasters with a service that provides an Internet connection to over-the-air TV signals? Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten is headed to Washington D.C. to … Read More »

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Quentin Tarantino’s Staged ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading Reveals Pic Not Dead Yet

hateful 8 Quentin Tarantino as director“We’ve been rehearsing this for the last three days and we’re not bad,” Quentin Tarantino told a packed crowd tonight at the live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script. With alumni from his past pics such as Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Amber Tamblyn Michael Madsen, Denis Menochet, James Remar and Walton Goggins plus Bruce Dern by his side onstage at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA, the director’s 3.5-hour performance of the five-chapter Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming revealed that Tarantino has a career in theater if he ever decided to chuck the whole moviemaking thing.

Related: Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

Despite the controversy and legal action surrounding the leaked script, which Gawker put online in January, tonight’s Film Independent Presents the World Premiere of a Staged Reading by Quentin Tarantino: The Hateful Eight, as it was formally titled, also revealed that the big-screen version might not be as shelved as the director first told my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. on January 21. “I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft, but we’re reading from the first draft,” Tarantino, wearing a black Stetson and red ribbed cowboy shirt, said to the 1,200 patrons in the almost SRO theater before the performance started. (The well-heeled crowd included longtime Tarantino producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.) “The Chapter 5 here will not be the Chapter 5 later, so this will be the only time it is seen ever.”

Hateful 8 Samuel L. Jackson as the majorRegardless of how Hateful Eight lives on, the crowd loved the show they saw tonight — especially the hands-on onstage narration and direction from Tarantino. “Guys, you are starting to drift away from the dialogue on the page,” the Oscar winner told the actors at one point around halfway through. “No more co-writing,” he added to a big laugh from the audience. “He’s directing,” said Jackson at another part when Tarantino ran across the stage to whisper something into his ear. That also got a big roar from the crowd. A couple of other times, the director asked the actors to start a particular scene over again. Near the end of the performance, Tarantino playfully told Goggins to just read the script and not worry about the imaginary guns in his hands. Also during the later part of the show, both Goggins and Madsen broke from the script and joked with Tarantino about a narration line where Madsen’s character was described as looking like “he’s cumming in his pants.” Madsen told the director that “it’s never happened before.” Tarantino shot back that he’d show him one day what it was like.

Besides several standing ovations, only a 20-minute intermission broke up the show. Tickets for tonight’s event went for $150-$200 a pop, with all proceeds going to Film Independent’s programming efforts at LACMA. Security was a top concern, with the crowd having to give up their cell phones and other electronics before entering the downtown theater. Read More »

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UPDATE: Supreme Court Allows Feds To Argue In Aereo Case Next Week

By | Saturday April 19, 2014 @ 12:48pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEUPDATE, 12:48 PM: Looks like three isn’t a crowd for the Supreme Court when it comes Aereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__131008001115__131212200214__140110201424__140211193750to the upcoming Aereo hearing. The high court has decided to let the Solicitor General’s office participate in the one-hour oral arguments session between Aereo and the broadcasters Tuesday in Washington D.C. “Motion of the Deputy Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument GRANTED,” said the SCOTUS yesterday. The granting of the motion comes more than a month and a half after the federal government’s top legal office filed a brief supporting the broadcasters in their showdown with the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. That was followed by the Solicitor General’s office requesting the time to directly make its points. The broadcasters have given the federal lawyers 10 minutes of their time. Though the broadcasters have a couple of former Solicitors General on their team, the current Solicitor General will not be involved; before he took his present post, Donald Verrilli Jr. argued Hollywood copyright cases before the SCOTUS and hence has recused himself. The likely candidate will be Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, who submitted the March 13 motion. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ Falls, ‘Hannibal’ Surges, ’20/20′ Up As ABC Wins Demo For Friday

By | Saturday April 19, 2014 @ 9:58am PDT

kitchen nightmares april 18There was a lot cooking on primetime last night and Friday’s menu was a mix of the undercooked and the more-than-just-right. The second week of Season 6 of Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares traveled to the troubled Old Neighborhood Restaurant in Arvada, CO and to a Greek joint in Queens, NY, where the owner couple were in almost as much trouble as their establishment. Unfortunately for the two-hour reality show, the trouble didn’t stop there: the Gordon Ramsay series took a 17% dive from its 8 PM (1.0/4) premiere April 11 and an 18% drop from its 9 PM (0.9/3) broadcast last week. Read More »

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UPDATE: James Franco’s Former Biz Management’s Countersuit “Will Be Shut Down Quickly”, Says Plaintiffs’ Attorney

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 8:20pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGE"Of Mice And Men" Broadway Opening Night - After PartyUPDATED, 8:20 PM: Just hours after James Franco’s former management company sued the actor’s ex-rep and his ex-financial adviser for fraud and a litany of other claims, Tanner Mainstain Blatt Glynn & Johnson LLP has fired back with a counterclaim. “JLM, the management company, was rife with internal mismanagement, surreptitious behavior, duplicitousness and questionable ethical acts,” the Hollywood financial management company said in its 7-page filing today in LA Superior Court. “By its Complaint, the management company and its owners seek to make TMBGJ responsible for their own myriad Tannerinternal shortcomings.” The counterclaim alleges that in desperation to keep The Planet Of The Apes actor as a client, JLM partner and co-founder Randy James looked the other way at his former partner Miles Levy’s supposed skimming of a third of Franco’s commissions from 2006 to late 2013 as well as other indiscretions.

The lawyers for James and fellow plaintiff and former JLM director Ken Jacobson isn’t buying the spirit or the letter of the counterclaim. “This is no defense to the complaint’s allegations that Tanner Mainstain name partner Steve Blatt knowingly facilitated, concealed and profited from Mr. Levy’s theft from the corporation,” plaintiffs’ primary attorney Devin McRae said in a statement after the counterclaim was filed today. “The law doesn’t allow fraudsters to point to the victim and say, ‘It’s your fault I duped you’. This pleading will be shut down quickly.” TMBGJ is represented by attorney Randall Dean of LA film Chapman Glucksman Dean Roeb & Barger.

PREVIOUSLY, 1:06 PM: Last fall my colleague Mike Fleming Jr reported that James Franco and Miles Levy, his manager of almost two decades, had parted ways. Today, according to a multi-claim complaint (read it here) filed in LA Superior Court, we might have a sense of what really happened. “Box office star James Franco’s recently fired talent and financial managers, Defendants Miles Levy and Steve Blatt, conspired to, and did by fraudulent means, embezzle significant sums in commissions due James Levy Management for nearly a decade,” says the filing for a jury trial. It adds dramatically: “The thieves have been caught and the day of reckoning has arrived.”

2012 Palm Springs International ShortFest - Agents, Managers and Actors PanelLevy is said to have been skimming a third of the 15% Franco has been paying in commissions to the Burbank-based management company since 2006. Alleging breach of contract, fraud and unjust enrichment among other claims, James Levy Management co-founder Randy James and former company director Ken Jacobson have gone after Levy plus big-time Hollywood financial management firm Tanner Mainstain Blatt Glynn & Johnson LLP and partner Blatt for unspecified compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages. They also want an independent accounting, a court declaration of their rights, and an order “removing Levy from office.” The plaintiffs say they discovered this case of sticky fingers on March 20, 2014 and that is why they have brought this legal action now. Obviously, the 50-year friendship and 28-year business partnership between James and Levy has hit a bit of a rocky period to put it mildly. Read More »

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Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 10:59am PDT

samuel-l-jackson-quentin-tarantino-sliceOrganizers have treated Film Independent’s staged reading of Quentin Tarantino’s latest script The Hateful Eight like a national security matter, restricting things like cell phones and computers and staying mum on casting ahead of Saturday night’s event. But I have … Read More »

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The ABCs Of Aereo: Future of TV & Internet At Stake In Battle With Broadcasters, Says Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia

Editors Note: This is the last of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: An interview with Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia.

Previous ABCs Of Aereo Reports:
What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To Supreme Court?
Aereo Wants “Something For Nothing”, Former U.S. Lawyer Says

Aereo Supreme CourtBroadcasters challenged Aereo‘s legality almost from the moment in early 2012 when it launched in NYC. It is a David and Goliath contest: the tiny, Barry Diller-backed streaming service defending itself against attacks from CBS, Disney, Fox, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal among other companies as well as the federal government’s Office of the Solicitor General. The plaintiffs say Aereo steals their property by selling their over-the-air programming without paying them. They liken it to a cable or satellite distributor and say that it packages channels and then redistributes them — in legal terms creating a public performance that, since it isn’t authorized by the broadcasters, violates the “transmit clause” of the Copyright Act of 1976. But Bloomberg Panel & Reception - 2012 Tribeca Film FestivalAereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia says there’s no violation. He simply leases to consumers the antennas and technologies they need to privately exercise their right to watch broadcast signals for free. He sees next week’s Supreme Court hearing as a fight for his company, as well as a struggle to protect public control of the airwaves, and consumers’ ability to harness the power of the Internet.

DEADLINE: Barry Diller has said that if you guys lose at the Supreme Court, it’s basically game over. Are you turning off the lights if the Supreme Court rules against you?
KANOJIA: It’s going to depend on what the nature of the scope of the conclusions from the Supreme Court happens to be. If it’s a straight up, wipeout loss — and the Supreme Court shows the 2nd Circuit’s analysis of the transmit laws and, as a result, the idea was private performance is incorrect — then it will be very difficult for Aereo to be in business. For us, along with a lot of other companies that buy DVRs or cloud solutions, it will be a very difficult climate for sure. One result may very well be that we cease to operate.

Related: Barry Diller Says Aereo WIll Be “Finished” If It Loses Supreme Court Case: Video

DEADLINE: What if it goes in your favor?
KANOJIA: It’ll mean business as usual for everybody. I think the broadcasters will continue to grow and succeed. I think Aereo will continue to sell to consumers who don’t consume broadcast TV from cable or satellite but use antennas or are not part of the system. Then I think overall the pie will continue to grow.

DEADLINE: What do you think the broadcasters will do if they lose?
KANOJIA: Oh, they’re going to come back for a Round 2. They may go to Congress. The strategy of this industry is, “Let’s litigate, legislate. And if you can’t figure that out, then see how to make money from basic knowledge.” Read More »

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Jimmy Kimmel Hits Season High & Tops Late Night With ‘Scandal’ Finale Show

KIMMEL RHIMES APRIL 17 2Over at ABC‘s Jimmy Kimmel Live! this morning they’re likely celebrating with two words: “Scandal!” & “Victory!” For the first time since Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show this year, the other Jimmy was the King of Late Night thanks to his Scandal Season 3 finale-themed show — though NBC’s and CBS’ late-night shows were repeats. In metered-market household results, Kimmel drew a season-high 3.4/8 rating. That beat The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’s 2.1/5 and Late Show With David Letterman‘s repeat, which drew a 2.1/5. Among adults 18-49 in the 25 LPM market ratings, Kimmel had a 1.4/6 to Fallon’s 0.8/4 and Letterman’s 0.4/2. Last night’s Tonight Show replayed its February 20 show with First Lady Michelle Obama and Will Ferrell as guests. Other than Thursday’s show, JKL has been in repeats all this week. Last night’s result actually is the best JKL has done since the show’s move to 11:35 PM in January 2013.

Related: ‘Scandal’ Finale: Shonda Rhimes On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’

Last night’s “Behind The Scandalabra” broadcast, featuring an interview from the Scandal set with Shonda Rhimes, creator of the politically themed soap, did 36% better than Kimmel did last week. On April 10, the ABC host pulled in a 2.5/6 rating in metered-market household results. Fallon’s April 10 show got a 2.9/7 result in the 56 metered markets. Last week’s Late Show was an encore delayed by coverage of The Masters golf tournament and drew a 1.6/4. Read More »

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The ABCs Of Aereo: Streaming Service Wants “Something For Nothing”, Former Top Federal Lawyer Says

By and | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 9:31am PDT

Editors Note: This is the second of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: An interview with former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who is serving as an adviser to the broadcasters in their case against the streaming service. 

Related: The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

On April 22, Aereo and major broadcastersAereo case will have their day in the Supreme Court. Broadcasters will say Aereo is stealing their copyrighted material, end of story. The Barry Diller-backed streaming service that launched in early 2012 will say it merely rents antennas to consumers so they can watch TV that’s already available for free over the public airwaves. Both sides will be represented by lawyers who know the Supreme Court well. David Frederick of D.C. firm Kellog Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel LLP has more than 40 SCOTUS appearances notched on his belt and will handle defendant Aereo’s arguments. Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued more 70 cases before the high court, will represent Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox and the other plaintiffs. He will have a half hour to make his points, unless the Justices give 10 minutes to the current Solicitor General’s office to argue on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Here’s the broadcasters’ argument from Neal Katyal, now a partner at international firm Hogan Lovells, who was picked by President Obama to serve as Acting Solicitor General from May 2010-June 9, 2011.

Senate Armed Services Committee Holds Hearing On Enemy CombatantsDEADLINE: So, let’s cut to the chase — what is this case really about?
KATYAL: I certainly think that streaming of the broadcasters’ signals is retransmission and blatantly violates the Copyright Law. Our case is can a company come along and yank broadcast signals out of the air and then package them and sell them to individual subscribers for a fee when the producers of that content aren’t compensated for it? The networks each year spend billions of dollars creating, producing, acquiring and distributing and marketing their content. Aereo is yanking the signals out of the air and selling them to people. So that’s what the case is about.

Related: Aereo Slammed One Last Time By Broadcasters Before SCOTUS Hearing

DEADLINE: Aereo would say that it complies with the Copyright Act and that broadcasters are trying to stem the use of innovative technology and stop the future from happening.
KATYAL: I think this idea that Aereo has some innovative new technology is an absolute red herring. The only thing innovative about Aereo is its legal strategy. It’s not people capturing the signal, its Aereo capturing the signal through antenna and then selling it to the entire American public and it’s Aereo who’s violating the Copyright Law by doing that. What Aereo is doing is grabbing the broadcasters’ signal from the air and then they’re retransmitting it. In 1976 Congress expressly said any device or process that retransmits a broadcast signal without the copyright holder’s permission is unlawful. So to me this is one of the easiest cases the Supreme Court is going to decide this year because it’s something that Congress settled. There maybe a number of interesting policy arguments about how we should have a different Copyright Law, but with respect to the Copyright Law we do have, it’s a very hard argument for Aereo. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Arrow’ Down, ‘Survivor’ & ‘Idol’ Steady,’The 100′ Rises

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 9:22am PDT

SURVIVOR APRIL 16On a night of a lot of repeats on the networks, it was primetime battle between veteran reality shows last night. And though Survivor (2.2/8) dipped 8% from last week, the CBS show again was the reality TV victor. With 9.28 million viewers watching between 8-9 PM, the 28-season-strong series topped the 8.25 million total viewers and 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 American Idol had in their common hour. This is the fourth week in a row Survivor has beaten Idol in viewership and the sixth consecutive week the CBS show has come out on top in the demo in the 8 PM slot. Still, it wasn’t a stain-free victory march — as the numbers stand now, Survivor has hit a series low. That could change when the final numbers come in later today. Otherwise, CBS was all encores with Criminal Minds (1.4/4) and CSI (1.2/4). Read More »

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Aereo Slammed One Last Time By Broadcasters Before SCOTUS Hearing

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 5:22pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEWith just days to go before they meet their Aereo foes face-to-face at the Supreme Court, the broadcasters this week took one last swipe at what they claim is the “blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement” by the … Read More »

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FX’s ‘Fargo’ Debuts With 2.65M Viewers

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:12pm PDT

Fargo Ratings FXThere was a lot of snow, a broken nose, some low temperatures and a few dead bodies on the debut of Fargo on FX last night. There were also a lot of eyeballs catching the action: The 10 PM premiere of the limited series based on the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning 1996 pic was watched by 2.65 million total viewers and 1.02 million among adults 18-49. The 97-minute debut was down 12% from the 3.04 million who tuned in for the 91-minute premiere of The Bridge on July 10 last year in the same time slot. That cross-cultural police drama about a serial killer on the U.S./Mexico border garnered 1.16 million among adults 18-49. Over its three plays last night, Fargo pulled in 4.15 million total viewers with 1.79 million adults 18-49. “We are incredibly proud of the towering creative achievement by Noah Hawley and everyone involved with Fargo,” John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, said today in a statement.

Starring Billy Bob Thornton and Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman, Fargo was down 17% from the 3.22 million total viewers FX’s The Americans drew for its 98-minute Season 1 debut at 10 PM on January 30, 2013. The Cold War spy drama had 1.57 million viewers in the 18-49 demo for its launch.

Related: ‘Fargo’ Star Billy Bob Thornton Says TV Replacing Film For Interesting Drama

Read More »

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The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

By and | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 10:01am PDT

Editors Note: The first of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: A primer about Aereo and what’s at stake in the dispute with broadcasters.

U.S. Supreme Court justices are so mistrustful of technology that they bar TV cameras from their proceedings and require visitors to check their smartphones at the door.What Is Aereo But on April 22 they will take an hour to hear arguments in a case that could re-shape television and the Internet. All of the major broadcast companies are challenging the legality of an upstart streaming service: Aereo, a company backed by IAC chief Barry Diller that began to sign up subscribers in New York City in February 2012. The issues both sides will raise are complicated. But the controversy boils down to an important question: What rights do broadcasters and citizens have to content on the publicly owned airwaves?

Related: It’s On! – Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Aereo Case

Q: How does Aereo work?
A: Subscribers in the cities Aereo serves pay a minimum of $8 a month. That gives them exclusive access to one of its thousands of dime-sized antennas that pick up free, local, over-the-air broadcasts. The company then streams the live programming in the same local market to subscribers’ Web-connected TVs, computers, or mobile devices.

Aereo info graphic

Q: Does it just stream live TV?
A: Aereo also offers a remote storage DVR. Just like with a home DVR, each customer can choose programs to record, and then watch later with the same fast-forward and rewind capabilities. The difference is that the digital files are kept on Aereo’s servers, not on a hard drive in the home. Those who pay $8 per month get 20 hours of DVR storage each month and access to one antenna, while those paying $12 get 60 hours and access to two antennas.

Aereo mapQ: Where can people subscribe?
A: Aereo began in New York, and now also is available in Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Miami, and San Antonio. It plans to launch in cities including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Kansas City.

Q: Why does that bother broadcasters?
A: Aereo doesn’t pay local TV stations when it streams their programming. Broadcasters say that infringes on their copyrights. Read More »

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