Back in July ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC filed a lawsuit to shut down Locast. Locast is a free streaming service that offers locals streamed online for free in a handful of markets. Now Locast is fighting back by accusing ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC of antitrust violations.
In a counter filing Locast’s David Goodfriend said the big broadcasters “have colluded to limit the reasonable public access to the over-the-air signals that they are statutorily required to make available for free, and have opted instead to use their copyrights improperly to construct and protect a pay-TV model that forces consumers to forgo over-the-air programming or to pay cable, satellite, and online providers for access to programming that was intended to be free,” states Goodfriend’s answer and counterclaims.
“This is classic copyright abuse,” Locast said in the court filing. “By limiting access to the over-the-air signals that Plaintiffs have committed to make freely available, and simultaneously using the copyrights in their programming to drive revenue for the local programming that consumers cannot now effectively receive over the air through their pay-TV model, Plaintiffs have colluded and misused copyrights to expand their market power beyond what those copyrights were intended to protect. The payTV providers get rich. Plaintiffs get rich. The public gets fleeced.”
We’ll now have to wait and see if Locast will legally be able to continue offering free access to these major networks and whether AT&T can continue using the free service to their advantage in negotiations.
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