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Barry Diller On Incumbent Broadcasters And Aereo Being Legal

Barry Diller, an investor in Aereo (for more on Aereo, see this DisCo post about their recent win), was interviewed yesterday by Bloomberg TV.  The Verge transcribed part of the interview, and an excerpt is below:

“I understand broadcasting,” Diller says. “No incumbent wants anyone in. That is an unbreakable rule.”

Aereo as it exists is legal, argues Diller; the real danger to its future is that the networks’ complaints will lead to a hostile intervention from Congress. “My attitude has been to jump into something that looks difficult and is against what people think will succeed and plant my little flag,” says Diller, adding that “sometimes it gets kicked.”

As The Verge notes, “Barry Diller is a media legend, a former Paramount CEO and USA Network mogul who helped launch the Fox television network.”  It is admirable that given his perspective and experience he is supporting an innovative service for delivering content to consumers, and is willing to depart from his former colleagues.  His quotes aptly demonstrate the conflicts DisCo often highlights between incumbents whose established revenue streams are being undercut by startups, who then seek government intervention to try to keep their market share (and, as Diller puts it, often ‘kicking’ the competitors in the process).  But given how popular the service has been in New York and its plans to expand (next stop: Boston), not to mention the crucial fact that the law is on their side, Aereo’s future looks bright.

Intellectual Property

The Internet enables the free exchange of ideas and content that, in turn, promote creativity, commerce, and innovation. However, a balanced approach to copyright, trademarks, and patents is critical to this creative and entrepreneurial spirit the Internet has fostered. Consequently, it is our belief that the intellectual property system should encourage innovation, while not impeding new business models and open-source developments.