Locast Shut Down After Losing Court Battle With TV Networks


Locast, a nonprofit streaming service piped local broadcast signals It’s closing after a federal judge ruled against the organization in a rare case that battled the legality of network content made available online.

The organization said it was “immediately suspending operations”, adding that Locast was meant to “operate in accordance with the strict letter of the law” but had to abide by the decision, which it disagreed.

Service in many ways quixotic bet on the nature of copyright law. It was started by Washington lawyer David Goodfriend, who designed the platform specifically to challenge publishers. “You know you’re supposed to get the TV for free?” Mr Goodfriend said in 2019: interview.

The four major networks – NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox – have been granted a free license by the US government to use airwaves. But companies also charge their customers a minimum of $12 per month for “retransmission confirmation fees” through cable and satellite providers. Fees run into billions of dollars a year for publishers.

Locast plans to appeal the decision, but the decision will be closed entirely.

“Locast has always been thought of as a public service for people who want to watch local broadcast TV stations, can’t get them on the air and can’t afford expensive cable, satellite or streaming services,” Mr. Goodfriend said. A statement given to The Times. “Locast showed that millions of Americans fit into that category. They deserve something better than the status quo.”

Dedicating himself to a real-life David-versus-Goliath incident, Mr. Goodfriend dared to sue his publishers for supporting the principles of copyright law. Locast was created to take advantage of the provisions of the law that gave people free access to network broadcasts and included exemptions for nonprofits.

“We really did our homework,” Mr. Goodfriend said in 2019. “We operate under parameters designed to comply with the law.”

The service asks for donations of $5 a month and frequently cuts out streams to encourage users to contribute. About 3.2 million viewers signed up for the service, but not all of these people made financial contributions. The service generated $4.3 million in revenue last year. The organization also provides full access to nearly 50,000 people in financial distress without a donation request.

In 2019, the four main networks came together and sued the service for violation. Locast filed a lawsuit on its own, to claim The networks had secretly collaborated to suppress the nonprofit’s commercial deals.

Late Tuesday, Judge Louis L. Stanton of the Southern District of New York ruled against Locast, siding with publishers over a specific element of copyright law regarding how charitable offerings can be solicited and used.

The judge found that Locast used the revenue to expand its service to other cities, which in his opinion was an illegal move. The copyright code allows nonprofits to request funds to “cover the actual and reasonable costs of maintaining and operating” the service. Locast was available in approximately 36 markets serving just over half the US population.

In a joint statement, the networks described the judge’s decision as “a victory for copyright law” and confirmed our claim that Locast unlawfully infringed copyrights on television broadcast content that violated federal law.

Locast’s appeal against the decision will be heard by a panel of three judges in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. If the decision is overturned, it can offer a plan for other similarly designed services to work.

Meanwhile, Locast fans fouled.

“It’s just crazy that these companies are suing Locast,” said Cathy Gellis. from twitter. “The only reason I watch their affiliate is because of Locast. It should have come as a shock to their advertisers that they sued Locast, saying they didn’t want an audience. I don’t watch their commercials because there is no locast.”


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