Advanced Television

Court blow for US local net streamer

September 1, 2021

Network broadcasters have won a judgement that puts the future of TV station streamer, Locast, at risk.

The US Court of Appeals for the Southern District of New York has ruled against its copyright defence of the service. Locast has relied on the premise that because it did not charge a user fee – it solicits donations – it did not have to ask permission from the stations or pay them to retransmit the signal online.

Locast launched in January 2018, relying on Title 17, Chapter 1, section 111 (a) (5) of the Copyright Act, which covers exemptions from exclusive rights to broadcast transmissions. It grants exemption  for  “non-profit organizations” […] “without charge to the recipients of the secondary transmission other than assessments necessary to defray the actual and reasonable costs of maintaining and operating the secondary transmission service”.

But the national networks argued that the service was a commercial operation and the court agreed. Locast said the court was treating copyright law as a moat around the broadcast networks.

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