Updated: Locast has completely suspended service as of Thursday morning per their announcement email to users.
For a while now, Locast has been in a lawsuit from the major broadcasting networks. Locast is a non-profit company that offers local channels via the internet. Broadcast networks claim they are pirating content for a fee. U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dealt the company a major blow by siding with the broadcast networks.
The company’s defense was the “Copyright Law” that allowed Americans to have access to local channels without having to pay outrageous prices for cable. The judge interrupted the law that the “donations” they receive cannot be used to expand their services to other cities, as they have been doing.
Court says you need to pay cable companies, not Locast.
Now, there was a nuance that was missed in the reporting. The service wasn’t free. You could receive somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes of television. However, you would get hit with an ad to make a donation. The more you bypassed the ad, the quicker it would return. That is where the crux of the argument came into play.
Since the ruling, Locast announced that they will no longer stop coverage with the donation screen. I found their initial offering of “free local channels” misleading. Unless you pay $5 a month, then you can watch as much of it as you want.
In the news of public relations, this always seems to be left out from the pro-Locast side. My rationale for that thinking? Why would they remove it from here on out?
The future of the service?
I had been paying for the service until recently. My brother mostly wanted the local channels since he didn’t want to pay for anything more. Since his passing, I wanted to see more on television. Now, I’m watching YouTube TV. Since they ditched the ad for donations, check it out. For while it’s still available.