Pratik Shah Quoted by The Hollywood Reporter on Aereo Case Before SCOTUS

The Hollywood Reporter, for its article “Aereo to Face Uphill Battle in Supreme Court, Experts Say,” quoted Akin Gump Supreme Court practice head Pratik Shah on the likely outcome of online video provider Aereo’s case before the Court.

The issue in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc. is whether Aereo is “publicly performing” a copyrighted television program when it streams that program to online paid subscribers. Shah stated, “I think a majority of the Court will be skeptical of Aereo's position and thus likely to rule in favor of the broadcast-petitioners.”

Observers agree that the request by the Office of the Solicitor General for time at oral argument will influence the Court.  Shah noted that the office’s brief, filed last month, “will carry significant weight (and) could well be viewed as a more objective voice.”

Concerning Aereo’s argument that the seven-second delay it introduces makes its service more of an RS-DVR (remote storage digital video recorder) than a cable system, Shah said, “While perhaps technologically innovative, Aereo's mode of operation could well strike the Justices as too clever by half. If so, I would expect Aereo's counsel to be on the hot seat at argument.”

He added, “From a thematic standpoint, it will be important for Aereo to provide a convincing counter-narrative to that of a clever circumventer. It needs to persuade the Court that it is the precisely the type of innovator—vital to our modern technology economy—that our laws should be protecting from stifling legal threats by established media giants desperate to retain control of their age-old broadcasting dominance.”

Shah noted, “Which narrative prevails may well determine the outcome in this case.”

The Huffington Post also carried this story, quoting Shah in its excerpt.