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EFF Joins Locast Suit as Co-Counsel

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined the legal team for Sports Fans Coalition New York as co-counsel. The coalition is defending itself against a copyright infringement suit filed by the broadcast networks. 

The coalition is behind Locast, the free TV station streaming service that said it does not have to seek permission or pay for retransmitting TV station signals over the web due to a copyright law carveout for noncommercial translators. 

Locast founder David Goodfriend argues that during the pandemic, "when Americans need emergency news and information from their local broadcasters, and when so many of our fellow Americans are suffering economically," Locast provides a crucial public service. 

Related: Gigi Sohn Joins Locast Board

Locast does not charge a fee, but does seek donations and interrupt its live streamed programming periodically to ask for a donation from those who have not done so. 

“Broadcast TV is a vital source of local news and cultural programming for millions of people which matters now more than ever because of COVID-19,” said EFF senior staff attorney Mitch Stoltz of the decision to add its thumb to the scale in favor of Locast. “But some broadcasters want to use copyright law to control when, where, and how people can receive their local TV broadcasts, and force people to buy expensive pay-TV services just to get their local news and sports.” 

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.