Locast suspends all streaming service after court loss

Just a day after Locast lost a court ruling against the four major U.S. broadcast networks, the streaming service has decided to suspend service. A message on the service’s website and other platforms states “We are suspending operations, effective immediately.” While the service, which streamed broadcasts of local ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX channels through its app, technically hasn’t gone to trial yet nor been ordered to shut down, the future for Locast looks bleak.

Locast operated without an agreement from U.S. broadcast networks, as other streaming services did, because it claimed to not need one due to U.S. laws that allow non-profit organizations, which Locast is, to freely rebroadcast over-the-air TV broadcasts, as long as the organization abided by certain requirements. A judge yesterday denied that protection by not dismissing a lawsuit brought on against Locast by the four major U.S. broadcast networks.

Locast’s initial response seemed positive. The company sent out an email to its customers stating that it would no longer require a $5 monthly donation for uninterrupted service. This was likely a response to the judge stating that Locast “made far more money from user charges than was necessary to defray its costs of maintaining and operating its service.” By eliminating its payment requirement for uninterrupted service, and, in turn, the judge’s primary objection, it seemed as though Locast was planning to continue offering its service.

That changed when Locast sent out another email this morning stating that it would be suspending operations immediately. The email stated that “As a non-profit, Locast was designed from the very beginning to operate in accordance with the strict letter of the law, but in response to the court’s recent rulings, with which we respectfully disagree, we are hereby suspending operations, effective immediately.”

Locast may still go to trial and come out victorious, resulting in service resuming operations in the future, but that doesn’t seem likely. Time will tell, but this is likely the end of Locast as we know it.

15 comments
  1. Craig says:

    I had a bad feeling about Locast…every time I saw that they released a new TV app for Vizio SmartCast etc? My gut vibe said that it was a lot of app development work for a service with a very uncertain future.

  2. Don says:

    These guys were trying to scam the system. Sombody gotta pay for programming. Non profit does mot mean nobody getting paid!

    • Ron says:

      Somebody does… The advertisers who purchase commercial time on the over the air networks and channels. This is just another case of the big boys with the deep pockets (networks) bullying the little guys who are working to help out the masses (Locast). After the over the air broadcasters selling bandwidth (that the government licensed to them for over the air broadcasts) for millions of dollars, the signals were shifted to low power or inadequate frequencies which many cable cutters were no longer able to pick up over the air. The broadcasters are the ones scamming, not Locast.

    • Keith says:

      No, they weren’t scamming the system. As long as they don’t profit from their revenues, they should be covered by the 1976 act. The judges interpretation can be faulted but it can also be circumvented by not using donations for expansion and getting expansion funds from other acceptable sources.

      • Don Geo says:

        If I pirate stuff, I dont fool myself thinking its legit. Real debrid is our friend. Who is gonna pays the bills, someone else!

  3. TechyChris says:

    I really had no horse in this race but I knew history was not on their side. I don’t care who you are, NO ONE has the time or resources to go up against Mainstream Media.

  4. Nicholas Cannon says:

    Not having access to local news networks is a real safety issue

  5. Dirkie says:

    This is counterintuitive. I’m not a Prime member, but can download many local channels from the app store, or sideload many others. Alternatively, I can freely watch many (live) channels from a browser on firestick.

  6. Td says:

    They are commercial broadcasters you get there broadcast free over the air if you have an antenna all they were doing was putting it on the internet so people that couldn’t have antennas could get it like apartment buildings elderly living homes. Broadcasters made their money off commercials they just want to force people that can’t have antennas into paying even more that’s what low cast was doing

  7. Soji says:

    It’s about time. You’re charging money and you called it donation. Donation should be free will and be done maybe once or twice a year with no fixed amount. For me, I use ClearStream and it works great with an indoor antenna, picking 160 channels in Los Angeles area.

  8. Red says:

    Locast was never really intended for you. It is for this who pick up 0 or next to 0 signal with an outdoor antenna or could, if allowed but only with a 50′ mast off the chimney w/rotor, amp etc.

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