A New Locast Like Streaming Service is Offering Free ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC





Girl watching TV

Locast was a live TV streaming service that offered free access to local TV stations in a growing number of markets, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in select markets. It ended up being shut down after lawsuits from several broadcasters.

Now a new service called LocalTV+ has launched to offer free ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in the Boston area. It is also accepting donations, and now the question is whether it will avoid the same fate as Locast did.

LocalTV+ apparently first quietly launched back in 2022 and is now available in the Boston area.

In a statement on its website, LocalTV+ said:

Cable is expensive and an entire generation does not know that over the air TV (NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX etc.) is free with a cheap antenna. People think it’s an illegal hack despite this being how people have gotten TV for generations. Additionally, a lot of people live in areas and homes served by these stations but do not receive a good signal due to environmental obstruction such as trees or hills. US law has a provision for this to allow non profits to retransmit the signal to resolve this issue. There was an attempt by Locast to do this recently but it was shut down not due to the retransmission, which everyone agrees was legal, but the way they monetized and used their money.

The case against Locast started when broadcasters took legal action against Locast in July 2019, over a year after the local channel streaming service launched. ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC sued to shut the service down. Locast responded, saying that it “provides a public service retransmitting free over-the-air broadcasts. Its activities are expressly permitted under the Copyright Act.”

Locast continued to use its “free” status to maintain that the service is allowed to operate a secondary transmission service, U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton wrote that income from the $5 donations required for uninterrupted viewing was used for expanding the service, which isn’t permitted under an exemption to the Copyright Act.

The case against Locast ended with Locast being shut down for good and paying out $32 million in copyright damages to ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

Now we will have to wait and see if LocalTV+ will expand into new areas and if local TV stations will try to stop them again.

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