Get real! Aereo's legal battle has nothing to do with the cloud

The Supreme Court will hear a case involving streaming TV; it's portrayed as a major precedent for the cloud -- but it's not

For some people, the Supreme Court case involving the TV streaming service Aereo and the major broadcast networks could have major implications for cloud computing. But it won't.

I've received a lot of calls from reporters asking what the case means to the cloud. They associate the Aereo service to the cloud because Internet distribution is involved, and to many people the Internet, websites, and even email equal the cloud. Of course they do not.

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Let's be clear: In this case, the medium is not the message. The fact that Aereo uses the Internet to stream local broadcasts so that people not in the broadcast area (or without a TV) is incidental to the issue at hand, which is whether Aereo is violating the broadcasters' copyright on the programming it redistributes without their permission. The most recent court decision sides with Aereo that the retransmission is not a copyright violation, and now the Supreme Court will decide if it agrees. The cloud is incidental here.

Cloud computing is about the more efficient use of IT resources -- that's the value. Truly cloud-oriented legal issues involve compliance, security, and contractual issues such as service-level agreements.

Whatever you think of the Aereo service, don't look to the legal fight around it as a precedent for the cloud. It isn't.

This article, "Get real! Aereo's legal battle has nothing to do with the cloud," originally appeared at Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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