Viewers in Sioux City can now get free broadband access to 20 local TV channels--though Locast solicits contributions to cover expenses.
The channels, which include both primary and digital secondary channels, are KCAU ABC 9, KTIV NBC 4, and KPTH FOX 44/KMEG CBS; KUSD PBS, ION, LAFF, BOUNCE, DABL, Stadium, TBD., Comet, MeTV, The CW, Charge!, Court TV Mystery, Escape, PBS Kids, PBS World, and PBS Create.
Related: Locast Stations Engage in Multifront Legal Fight
Locast, which was launched by the Sports Fans Coalition NY in January 2018 and now claims over a million sign-ups, relies on a copyright law carveout to offer the channels without having to ask permission from or negotiating with local TV stations for carriage, though it is in a legal battle with the networks over whether it qualifies for that exemption from negotiation.
Locast operates under the law written into the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. 111(a)(5)) that allows nonprofit translator services to rebroadcast local stations without receiving a copyright license from the broadcaster.
It is available on DISH Hopper/Wally receivers, some DIRECTV receivers, TiVo, AT&T’s U-Verse, and at streaming sites Google Play, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon, and ROKU.
Locast launched a GoFundMe page earlier this month to raise money for its legal fees. So far, it has collected a little over $12,600 toward a goal of $500,000.
ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox sued the creators of Locast in July, claiming that the non-profit streaming service was helping AT&T’s DirecTV and Dish network by providing access to programming during retransmission consent fee disputes and blackouts. Locast countersued.
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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.