Free TV service Locast suspends operations after legal losses

Locast is a service that broadcasts local TV for free in about 30 cities in the United States. The service is temporarily suspending operations after it caused losses to the broadcasting industry in court.

The owners of the country’s major radio and television networks-ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox-sued Locast in 2019, claiming that Locast infringed their copyrights and demanded that the service be shut down.

Locast believes that because it is a non-profit organization, it has discovered a legal loophole in copyright law-it can be broadcast on the ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox networks without paying. Companies that own these networks earn billions of dollars in fees from cable companies each year, and these companies pay to include them in their TV packages.

But a federal judge in New York ruled on Tuesday that Locast is not protected by copyright exemptions. He said that Locast is effectively charging users and using the money to expand its services, which he said is not allowed by law.

Although Locast is free, users who don’t pay $5 a month will receive an ad requesting donations every 15 minutes.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization defending Locast in court, stated that the judge “interpreted the law in an artificially narrow way” and that Locast is fulfilling the mission of Congress to ensure that Americans can access local radio stations.

Locast has existed for many years, but as new streaming services have attracted people’s attention, it has been ignored. EFF said it has more than 3 million users.

“As a non-profit organization, Locast was designed to operate strictly in accordance with the law from the beginning, but in response to the court’s recent ruling, we disagree and we hereby suspend operations with immediate effect,” the company’s news released on Thursday The manuscript said.

EFF lawyer Mitch Stoltz said that legal cases will continue, including appeals, to resolve the remaining issues. He did not specify what these problems were.

Major broadcast networks can also be obtained for free through other means, such as TV antennas, which you can buy for less than $10.

The television network’s lawyer did not immediately respond.

Disney Owns ABC, ViacomCBS owns CBS, Comcast’s NBCUniversal owns NBC, and Fox Corp. owns Fox.

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