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.