The Oklahoman

Free TV service Locast suspends operations after legal loss


Locast, a service that streamed local TV for free in about three dozen U.S. cities, is suspending operations after losses in court against the broadcast industry.

The owners of the country’s major broadcast TV networks – ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox – had sued Locast in 2019, saying Locast violated their copyrights, and asked for the service to be shut down.

Locast has held that because it is a nonprofit, it found a legal loophole in copyright law – it can stream the networks of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox without paying them. The companies that own the networks make billions annually in fees from cable companies who pay to include them in TV packages.

But a federal judge in New York ruled on Tuesday that Locast isn’t protected by that exemption from copyright law. He said Locast is effectively charging users and using that money to expand its service, which he said isn’t allowed under the law.

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