TV station streaming provider, Locast, is adding the city of Houston as its third area served. This was revealed by its non-profit organizer, Sports Fans Coalition New York.
Locast was introduced in New York on January 11 this year. On August 2, the free TV station streaming service was launched in Dallas and announced that more locations would be included
David Goodfriend, chairman of Sports Fans Coalition New York, casually used a famous but mistaken message from an Apollo 13 astronaut. “Houston, we have liftoff,” he said as he praised the Texan city as renowned for its energy and rockets.
Goodfriend said that Houston is a suitable location for Locast. He said that people who live in the area could access broadcast stations on any digital gadget, even those who are unable to get signal that is over-the-air.
With over “tens of thousands” of users in Dallas and New York, the Locast executive revealed that the agenda is to include at least two more areas in the following weeks. He is proud to say that no broadcaster has filed a lawsuit nor complained about the Internet re-transmissions yet.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) compared Locast to services like FilmOn and Aereo which tried but did not succeed in evading the laws protecting local viewers and broadcasters.
The association, which represents leading networks and TV stations, maintained that the fledgling TV station streaming provider would most likely be unable to hurdle legal inquiries successfully.
NAB has been reported to file a lawsuit against Locast’s predecessors. As over-the-Internet is similar to over-the-air retransmissions, Locast is a non-profit service though it requests users for donations and is allowed to charge fees to cover some expenses.
The TV station streaming service has provided a defense for itself, countering NAB’s criticisms. Locast depends on the Copyright Act which has a section about broadcast transmissions and allows an exemption to non-profit organizations.
It re-broadcasts signals of local TV stations as permitted by copyright law. In addition, it does not need to acquire a copyright license.
Since Locast is only available within the relevant Designated Market Area or DMA, it is, therefore, geo-fenced and is not impacted by issues relating to contractual exclusivity.