August 19, 2014 Articles

The Supreme Court's Summer Decisions on Modern Technology

Technology questions can be resolved with existing precedent and principles, but the law must also adapt.

By David Dobin

This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions involving modern technology that highlight the extent to which judges and practitioners can—and cannot—rely on existing precedent to respond to legal issues that arise from the use of such technology.

In American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2498 (2014), decided on June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court applied precedent relating to twentieth-century technology to hold that Aereo, a service that allows cable subscribers to stream content to their computers and mobile devices online, violated the content copyright owners’ “‘exclusive righ[t]’ to ‘perform the copyrighted work publicly.’” Id. at 2502.

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