Broadcasters And Locast Agree To Settle Streaming Battle

Broadcasters have agreed to settle their dispute with Locast, a now shuttered streaming television service, according to court papers filed Thursday with U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton in New York.

The companies say they “believe they have negotiated a resolution of all issues in the case,” but don't provide any details.

Stanton recently ruled that the three-year-old Locast infringed the broadcasters' copyright by transmitting programs without licenses. Last month, he ordered the service to permanently shut down.

Locast had planned to appeal that ruling, but suggested in Thursday's court filing that it no longer intends to do so, in light of the anticipated settlement. 

Locast, created by the nonprofit Sports Fans Coalition NY, captured over-the-air broadcast signals and streamed them to people within specific geographic areas. The company launched with broadcast feeds from 13 stations in the New York City area, and later expanded to include feeds from more than 30 markets.



Locast argued it was protected by a provision in the Copyright Act that allows nonprofits to boost antenna signals. That provision only applies to nonprofits that don't charge for service -- though it allows nonprofits to charge fees necessary to cover costs.

Locast said its service was free, and therefore fell within that exception. But the broadcasters countered that the company solicits $5 monthly donations, and interrupts non-contributing users' streams every 15 minutes.

Stanton sided with the broadcasters, ruling that Locast wasn't actually free, due to those interruptions.

“The obvious economic fact is that these 'donations' are really a scale of fees for uninterrupted service, and it works,” he said in a written opinion. 

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