Locast has taken to GoFundMe for help in fighting a selection of major networks in court. This is the latest development in an ongoing legal battle between Locast and the major networks. The argument largely revolves around one major point and that’s whether Locast should qualify as a non-profit.
Locast is a live TV streaming service. However, unlike other TV streaming services, Locast only provides access to channels that would otherwise be available for free. In other words, local OTA channels. Instead of having to tune in to the channel with an antenna, consumers can simply use one of the Locast apps to stream those channels over the internet.
Locast does not charge for the service, although it does rely on donations from users. Now, it also wants financial help from consumers to fight its current legal battle. The GoFundMe page went live earlier in the week and has already helped Locast get $6,000 closer to its $500,000 goal.
To date, Locast has taken its time in becoming available. Even now, it is still only limited to a select number of cities in the U.S.
The Locast battle so far
While investment is one of the issues facing the company, it has also routinely been accused by some media companies of harming the industry. These accusations recently led to Locast being sued by major names, including networks owned by Disney, NBC, and Fox. The sum of their joint complaint is that Locast does not have the right to provide access to the live channels. While the channels can be accessed for free over-the-air, these companies tend to negotiate carriage rights with other companies to sell on access. As a result, the collection of networks want Locast shut down, and permanently.
Locast, on the other hand, claims protection under its non-profit status. Likewise, it claims the right to make available these channels based on the fact they are free channels to begin with. While the delivery mechanism has changed from over-the-air to streaming, Locast argues that doesn’t change the essential premise that U.S. consumers should be able to access these stations for free. Locast further argues it is doing a service in this respect with its streaming apps allowing consumers to access stations they might not be able to access otherwise. Locast even counter-sued the same networks, accusing them of “collusion.”
Regardless of the outcome of the counter-complaint, it is likely the decision on the initial suit will come down to whether or not Locast should be classified as a non-profit. If it’s not a non-profit then it would be liable to pay the companies for distribution rights.
In the meantime, Locast remains operational and can be accessed via a number of platforms. Locast apps are available to download on Android and iOS mobile, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and more.