Locast Ordered to Shut Down Permanently

Non-profit streaming service Locast has been ordered by a federal judge to shut down permanently.

Locast stated on its official website that the service is ending its operations, effective immediately, and makes mention of how the company “respectfully disagrees” with the ruling. The company had suspended its service following another court ruling in early September.

Locast was a non-profit streaming service that streamed local TV channels to users across the United States. It used its non-profit status to circumvent copyright law and retransmit television signals, but this drew the ire of the major TV networks. The service was “free,” although a prompt would appear asking users to purchase a membership every 15 minutes or get booted back to the main screen.

In 2019, the four major networks—CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox—sued Locast, claiming the service violated copyright law and needed a retransmission license to stream their local channels. Locast defended itself by saying it was only streaming a signal that was already free.

The killing blow in the lawsuit came when District Court Judge Louis Stanton, who was presiding over the case, ruled that the company was using a portion of its membership fees to expand the service, instead of simply “maintaining and operating” it, as the law allows.

Unsurprisingly, broadcasters are happy with the judge’s ruling. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said he was pleased with the outcome and called Locast a “rogue piracy business.”

Locast users will now have to find other services to watch local TV. There are multiple methods out there, from YouTube TV to LocalBTV.

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