The Supreme Court announced decisions in three cases today:

American Broadcasting Cos., Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., No. 13-461: Respondent Aereo, Inc. sells a service that allows subscribers to watch television programs over the internet by capturing over-the-air-broadcast signals at small, individually-rented antennas, and translating these signals into data streamed online to and at the request of individual subscribers. Petitioners, entities in the broadcast television industry that own the copyrights to many of the programs Aereo streams, sued Aereo for copyright infringement, claiming it was infringing their exclusive right to “perform” their copyrighted works “publicly” under 17 U.S.C. §106(4). The district court denied a preliminary injunction and the Second Circuit affirmed. Today the Supreme Court reversed. The Court emphasized that Congress’s paramount purpose in amending the Copyright Act in 1976 was to bring cable television systems within the scope of the Act. In light of that purpose, the Court held, an entity engaged in activities like Aereo’s “performs” within the meaning of the Act, and it does so “publicly,” notwithstanding technological distinctions between Aereo’s system and cable, which “do not render Aereo’s commercial objective any different from that of cable companies.”

The Court's decision is available here.

Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, No. 12-751: Petitioner Fifth Third Bancorp maintains a defined-contribution retirement plan for its employees, which includes an “employee stock ownership plan” (“ESOP”) invested primarily in Fifth Third stock. Respondents, former Fifth Third employees and ESOP participants, sued Fifth Third and several of its officers under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), alleging that Fifth Third’s stock was overpriced and excessively risky, and that the defendants breached their fiduciary duty of prudence by failing to disclose this information, stop buying Fifth Third stock, or sell off the ESOP’s Fifth Third holdings. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim, but the Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that ESOP fiduciaries are entitled to a “presumption of prudence” that does not apply to other ERISA fiduciaries, but that the presumption does not apply at the pleading stage. Today the Supreme Court unanimously vacated and remanded the Sixth Circuit’s decision, holding that ESOP fiduciaries are not entitled to any special presumption of prudence; instead, they are subject to the same duty of prudence applied to all ERISA fiduciaries, with the limited exception that they need not diversify the fund’s assets.

The Court's decision is available here.

Riley v. California, No. 13-132, consolidated with United States v. Wurie, No. 13-212: After Petitioner Riley was arrested on weapons charges, police accessed information on his cell phone suggesting he was involved in gang activity. Based on that information, he was charged and ultimately convicted in connection with a shooting. After Respondent Wurie was arrested in an apparent drug sale, police used information obtained from his cell phone to obtain a search warrant for his apartment, where they found drugs and a weapon, leading to his conviction on additional charges. Today the Supreme Court, acting unanimously with Justice Alito concurring, held that the Fourth Amendment generally requires police to obtain a warrant before searching data on cell phones in connection with a lawful arrest. Quoting the 1886 decision in Boyd v. United States, the Court remarked that “[w]ith all they contain and all they may reveal,” cell phones “hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life.’ The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”

The Court's decision is available here.