Federal Court Makes Huge Ruling On Streaming Services

(TheLibertyRevolution.com)- Network broadcasters had reason to celebrate this week when a federal court in New York ruled against a digital app that streams television stations to viewers. The copyright case was being watched closely by tech enthusiasts and journalists as it would have major implications on how people access streaming television services.

The court offered a partial summary judgment against the app, named “Locast,” in favor of networks NBC, Fox, CBS, and ABC. All networks involved in the case argued that the application was making money from content that they had created in the form of donations from users, and had interrupted the service of users who did not donate. It meant that copyrighted content was being used by a third party for profit.

United States District Court Judge Louis Stanton ruled that since portions of the user payments were used to fund the expansion of Locast, it meant that action was necessary as the payments exceeded the amount necessary to maintain and operate the secondary transmission service.

You can read the full order here, but in a roundabout way, it explains how the company was profiting from major networks’ content.

Under the law, fundraising can only be used to cover the costs of operating a service – and not expanding. The Locast app operates in 36 markets and is currently available to 55% of the United States population. Its own website admits this, and ads that it has over three million total users. And while the service is technically free, those who don’t donate $5 per month will have their service interrupted multiple times every hour. It is, in effect, a paid service.

Locast has quickly become popular with people who have canceled their expensive cable services and opted for online streaming platforms instead – and let’s face it, it’s hard to understand how content produced by private companies can be provided for free by another company.

In what universe is that acceptable?