March 4, 2014 Last Updated 1:56 pm

The Justice Department backs broadcasters in Supreme Court fight with Aereo; Facebook updates

Media app updates include Decanter and Wine Spectator, Skype and Netflix

The lawyers for the Justice Department yesterday sided with the broadcast networks in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court in the case against Aereo, the over-the-air TV through Internet service.

Aereo-desktop-lgThe Justice Department argued that Aereo was violating the rights of broadcasters though its service, and should be required to pay broadcasters to redistribute content, same as cable companies. The essence of the Justice Department brief may be that Aereo is attempting to work around the retransmission restriction through redistributing the content to one at a time.

“If the respondent used a single master antenna to transmit television programming to thousands of subscribers, it clearly would function as a retransmission system subject to liability under the Coyright Act,” the Justice Department states. “Respondent seeks to accomplish the same result by maintaining thousands of individual antennas instead of one.”

The case, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc v. Aereo, Inc. FKA Bamboom Labs, Inc., tests very powerful broadcast networks who still create programming, and can make life difficult for the Obama administration, against a retransmission service not creating content. In purely political terms, the Obama administration’s position in the case is not surprising, and will likely been seen as simply old school politics.

FacebookPaper-iconFacebook today issued updates to both its Facebook Messenger iOS app and its new Paper app.

While the update to Messenger is simply about bugs, the update for Facebook’s new news feed app brings in new sharing options via Messenger and email. It also allows for users to turn off the sound effects.

User reviews so far have been more varied than is typical, though generally positive. Just under 7,000 reviews have been registered so far, with about 75 percent of them being 4 and 5-star ratings.

Netflix issued a bug fix for its iOS app, as did Skype for iPad and Skype for iPhone.

IPC Media’s Decanter Magazine North America, as well as several other of their magazine apps, have been updated for bug fixes. IPC continues to maintain replica edition apps, which puts them at a strict disadvantage in many categories. For instance, its Amateur Photographer digital edition pales in comparison to digital editions produced by its competitors. But in the wine category, Decanter’s biggest competitor would be the Wine Spectator, which is one of the few well-known brand magazines that has no digital edition at all. Instead, the M. Shanken Communications magazine has chosen to release a wine ratings app, which was updated for bug fixes today, and a Guide to Napa app which app buyers have panned.

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