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Weird! Someone Wrote a Hype-Free Take on the Aereo Case.

Less drama, more utility: A very thorough preview of next Tuesday's (potentially) landmark case.

Katherine Welles /
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Web TV service Aereo takes on U.S. TV broadcasters at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. It’s a fascinating story, and lots of people are taking a crack at telling it. We’ll have a few attempts at our own shortly.

But lots of coverage of Aereo vs. the TV Industrial Complex comes with big servings of hype and spin (Aereo will destroy TV! The TV guys will destroy the cloud!). Nothing wrong with that — it makes for zestier stories — unless you’re trying to parse the actual legal issues at play next week.

Then you’d probably want something more staid and neutral.

So here’s Lyle Denniston, a longtime legal reporter, writing for SCOTUSblog, with a lengthy, straight-ahead preview of the case. I’ve been watching Aereo since 2011, back when it was called BamBoom, and this is about as comprehensive — and middle-of-the-road — as I’ve seen when it comes to legal analysis.

It also provides a pretty good one-sentence summary of the arguments: “The broadcasters want the focus entirely on what Aereo itself does and how it operates its system from the top down; Aereo wants the focus entirely on the choices that its customers make from the bottom up.”

If you’re going watch or talk about the case on Tuesday, well worth making the time to read the rest this weekend.

This article originally appeared on

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