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The judge's opinion is bogus IMO, I know of no law or even any policy that claims that a non-profit can't grow into new markets.
I agree, and the judge saying 17 USC 111(c)(5) doesn't specifically allow expansion is definitely bogus in my non-legal opinion since it doesn't specifically prohibit it either. It's likely most or all non-profits started out fairly small and expanded as the need for their services and/or products grew. As I've said elsewhere, PBS didn't hit the ground running with ~330 stations...
 

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I understand why Broadcasters were against this type of product back 5 to 10 years but today, it could help them.
Broadcasters want to get paid. Most want $ per subscriber when someone rebroadcasts their signal. Even if refusing to have their signal carried loses viewers, they would rather be paid. The networks are pushing their affiliates to get paid more and give the networks a bigger cut. Paths that lead to not getting paid (other than their required OTA transmission) are not what most stations want.
 

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The court found that Locast's policy of expanding into new markets runs contrary to the aim of a non-profit, where cash should be used to cover running costs only. Judge Louis Stanton said that the cash raised from Locast's $5-per-month (don't call it a) subscription was being used to bankroll further expansion and earned "far more money from user charges than was necessary."
I disagree with the concept that a non-profit cannot expand. As long as they were not repaying investors the financial argument seems weak.

I am surprised that it has taken this long for a court to rule against Locast. Especially with donations and other support from major players such as DISH and DIRECTV.
 

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Legend
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In Locast's case the net profit is used primarily to expand the service to new areas.
Since that was the focus of the judge's ruling, I would guess the future expansion of Locast is what is really in jeopardy, more so than continuation of service in existing markets.

If current Locast users are located within reasonable OTA reception distance from their local broadcast transmitters, the loss of the service should not be as much of a problem as it would be for those whose only other option for locals would be a paid Cable, satellite, or streaming service.
 

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Dad
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To try to keep people from leaving the Cable and Sat plans and keep those carriage fees coming in. Without cable and sat carriage fees those local affiliates are going to lose a lot of money. Not that I feel sorry for them.
Broadcasters want to get paid. Most want $ per subscriber when someone rebroadcasts their signal. Even if refusing to have their signal carried loses viewers, they would rather be paid. The networks are pushing their affiliates to get paid more and give the networks a bigger cut. Paths that lead to not getting paid (other than their required OTA transmission) are not what most stations want.
That's old, wrong thinking. People are leaving CATV and SAT every day. In part due to the high retransmission fees. Dish demonstrated that people will opt out. OTA broadcasting has lost a lot of spectrum to Cell and it may continue as their numbers decline. Any business that fights technology becomes a dinosaur.
 

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That's old, wrong thinking. People are leaving CATV and SAT every day. In part due to the high retransmission fees. Dish demonstrated that people will opt out. OTA broadcasting has lost a lot of spectrum to Cell and it may continue as their numbers decline. Any business that fights technology becomes a dinosaur.
Just because it's old, or wrong for users, doesn't make it wrong for the networks. They want to get paid. They don't want broadcasting without permission. It might not make a lot of business sense in 2021, but I don't pretend to completely understand the model. Like a lot of thing around broadcasting which many of their standards were created in first the radio era and later in the early TV era, th

I'm a Locast subscriber and got an email late yesterday where they will no longer include "nag" interruptions for non paid subscribers. The issue they've determined is that it no longer becomes a "donation" when you include these types of nags where you have to pay to get them removed. I can see the court's point. So now a donation becomes completely voluntary (as a donation should be). I will keep donating as I want Locast to succeed, but I no longer have to in order to watch TV uninterrupted.
 

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Just because it's old, or wrong for users, doesn't make it wrong for the networks. They want to get paid. They don't want broadcasting without permission. It might not make a lot of business sense in 2021, but I don't pretend to completely understand the model. Like a lot of thing around broadcasting which many of their standards were created in first the radio era and later in the early TV era, th

I'm a Locast subscriber and got an email late yesterday where they will no longer include "nag" interruptions for non paid subscribers. The issue they've determined is that it no longer becomes a "donation" when you include these types of nags where you have to pay to get them removed. I can see the court's point. So now a donation becomes completely voluntary (as a donation should be). I will keep donating as I want Locast to succeed, but I no longer have to in order to watch TV uninterrupted.
Actually, Locast would be completely within the law if they charged reasonable fee to support the operation and maintenance of the service rather than depending on donations. In my opinion, the donations always were voluntary. Want to use the service uninterrupted? Pay up. Don't want to pay up? Don't use the service or put up with the interruptions. Your choice...
 

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Since that was the focus of the judge's ruling, I would guess the future expansion of Locast is what is really in jeopardy, more so than continuation of service in existing markets.

If current Locast users are located within reasonable OTA reception distance from their local broadcast transmitters, the loss of the service should not be as much of a problem as it would be for those whose only other option for locals would be a paid Cable, satellite, or streaming service.
In my non-legal opinion, the judge was wrong. His contention that the law doesn't specifically allow expansion of the service fails, I believe, since the law doesn't prohibit expansion either. Since the case is based on a US law, the 10th amendment to the US Constitution comes to mind: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (emphasis added).
 

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Legend
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That's interesting, never heard of it, but, still missing all our network locals including the one main one missing from DirecTV Stream, WPIX (our local CW).
Have you tried rabbit ears?

I see that Hulu with Live and YTTV also has WPIX, along with Directv Stream. Local BTV just complements as a free service, with PBS. With exception of YouTubeTV, none of the streaming services have PBS. In Philly, WPHL is missing from Hulu/YTTV. I never understood why Nexstar didn't push for WPHL carriage, when it pushed for NewsNation. WPHL even airs Action News at 10, operated by WPVI, owned by ABC, owned by Disney, yet Hulu with Live, owned by Disney, doesn't have WPHL. Anyways I digress.

But I found if I want to save money over Comcast/FIOS, I have to use multiple app to get the same or more channels.
 

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New Texan
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From Ars Technica:

Locast's free TV service shuts down after losing copyright ruling
Locast can't use revenue from users to expand into new markets, judge rules.
Locast said it is shutting down its TV service, at least for now, in response to its loss in court. "We are suspending operations, effective immediately," Locast said in a message on its homepage. "As a nonprofit, Locast was designed from the very beginning to operate in accordance with the strict letter of the law, but in response to the court's recent rulings, with which we respectfully disagree, we are hereby suspending operations, effective immediately."
FULL ARTICLE HERE
 

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Seriously, I think if these OTA stations want to play hard ball like this, they need to meet the mission they agreed to when getting a license from the FCC for public airwaves; that is, to work to get their FREE OTA signal reachable to many more people without needing drastic measures (not always possible in apartments or condos, or in terrain).

What I don't understand is how Locast adapted by saying the donation was now voluntary, which would seem to comply with the judge's orders assuming they did not use the donations to expand into new markets, and then suddenly stopped completely. Are they done for good now? Who got in their ear in the less than 24 hours between going all voluntary and stopping entirely? What kind of lawyering was going on? I was logging in to increase my donation this morning to help in the legal fight, only to find out they quit. These stations that hold viewers who can't get OTA hostage need to be reined in. The bottom line is that we now live in the Corporate States of America -- government of, by and for the corporation.
 

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I'm not surprised by this either.
Nor am I, though I am disappointed. The bottom line is that no matter how Congress intended to allow nonprofits to retransmit these signals, these corporate media empires will fight it in court, every time, and never lose because they have the lawyers and a judiciary handpicked by the politicians they have bought, all the way up to the US Supreme Court. The game is rigged and Corporate America never loses.
 

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Actually, Locast would be completely within the law if they charged reasonable fee to support the operation and maintenance of the service rather than depending on donations. In my opinion, the donations always were voluntary. Want to use the service uninterrupted? Pay up. Don't want to pay up? Don't use the service or put up with the interruptions. Your choice...
I wonder if PBS would send me a tote bag if I didn't donate? Charging for access would be an issue in my "non-legal" opinion. But one could probably come up with a long list of not for profit companies where a donation is required prior to receiving whatever service they provide (or at least presented in a way similar to Locast where "if you donate, you get service").

In my non-legal opinion, the judge was wrong. His contention that the law doesn't specifically allow expansion of the service fails, I believe, since the law doesn't prohibit expansion either. Since the case is based on a US law, the 10th amendment to the US Constitution comes to mind: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (emphasis added).
I agree with the decision but I don't agree with the logic presented (although all I have seen are media reports, not the actual judge's opinion). Copyright laws and using copyright to allow stations to withhold carriage without paid permission is a situation we are in due to a supreme court opinion that has not been overturned. The intent of the loophole that Locast claimed was not for a company to set up nationwide service (one market at a time) to millions of consumers. The intent was to allow true not for profit entities to provide service on a much smaller scale.

I'll let constitutional scholars fight the constitutional claims. SCOTUS says copyright applies to rebroadcasting TV signals. Congress wrote federal laws that control the rebroadcast of TV signals and allow rebroadcast on a limited basis. If prohibiting Locast from rebroadcasting without permission is unconstitutional then the existing laws preventing every MVPD from rebroadcasting without permission are also unconstitutional.

If this decision gets overturned it will probably be on some technicality (such as the "cannot expand" claim). Not for profits constantly use donations for expansion - adding new sites and services. The only way I see "expansion" as being a limit is due to being outside the intent of the law they are leveraging. The law was not intended to allow for a nationwide system of rebroadcasting local stations. That is what Locast was building, one market at a time.
 

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Have you tried rabbit ears?

I see that Hulu with Live and YTTV also has WPIX, along with Directv Stream. Local BTV just complements as a free service, with PBS. With exception of YouTubeTV, none of the streaming services have PBS. In Philly, WPHL is missing from Hulu/YTTV. I never understood why Nexstar didn't push for WPHL carriage, when it pushed for NewsNation. WPHL even airs Action News at 10, operated by WPVI, owned by ABC, owned by Disney, yet Hulu with Live, owned by Disney, doesn't have WPHL. Anyways I digress.

But I found if I want to save money over Comcast/FIOS, I have to use multiple app to get the same or more channels.
Rabbit ears don't work, I only get a few locals, most don't work. I'm going to try an antenna in the attic and see if that goes. Problem with YTTV, Hulu and most of the others are the RSNs, they don't have them. So if the rabbit ears solution doesn't work, I'll probably head back to DirecTV
 

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If this decision gets overturned it will probably be on some technicality (such as the "cannot expand" claim). Not for profits constantly use donations for expansion - adding new sites and services. The only way I see "expansion" as being a limit is due to being outside the intent of the law they are leveraging. The law was not intended to allow for a nationwide system of rebroadcasting local stations. That is what Locast was building, one market at a time.
Do we *know* Congress didn't intend to allow that to happen? Seems to me the idea was to allow signals that are *free* over-the-air to reach people for free when transmitted by an appropriate non-profit. And I don't see where Congress said the non-profit has to be local, market by market. I don't read that in the law.

I was wondering if one way around this could be to break this up into multiple, local non-profits each operating only within their own local market. If you do that, you pretty much eliminate the judge's (IMO questionable) logic here. If you don't allow that, you are pretty clearly violating the intent of Congress to allow for the retransmission by non-profits under at least some set of circumstances.

That said, I guess we don't know the exact intent of Congress, but I do know that these station owners and networks would never NOT try to sue ANY non-profit entity doing this out of existence.

So if the rabbit ears solution doesn't work, I'll probably head back to DirecTV
Which, of course, is exactly what they want -- not only do people often pay $100 a month or more for this, but they can also hold viewers hostage and withhold their programming in order to extort more and more money out of the rebroadcasters.
 

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Seriously, I think if these OTA stations want to play hard ball like this, they need to meet the mission they agreed to when getting a license from the FCC for public airwaves; that is, to work to get their FREE OTA signal reachable to many more people without needing drastic measures (not always possible in apartments or condos, or in terrain).
Can you give a reference to exactly where in their license stations are required to do as you suggest? Stations are required to use their licenses (cannot be off air for more than a year) and are expected to use all of their license (full transmit power as licensed within 10% below or 5% above licensed power, IIRC) but OTA stations are not licensed or required to provide service to X number of people or X% of a defined area. They are licensed to transmit at a certain height and power. As long as they do that without interfering with other licensed services reception is the problem of the viewer. (There are other requirements, such as educational programming, political programming, etc. But I'll confine the statement to how a station is required to use their transmitter.)

Wishing it was different is common. Even I want it to be different. But wishing doesn't change the reality of the situation.

What I don't understand is how Locast adapted by saying the donation was now voluntary, which would seem to comply with the judge's orders assuming they did not use the donations to expand into new markets, and then suddenly stopped completely. Are they done for good now?
A cease and desist order (restraining order) needs to be followed. They can go back to the judge and say "hey, we have removed the nag screen and our signal is now freely available separate from donation". But they CANNOT continue to operate without the judge changing the order.

Think about it as being pulled over by a police officer for speeding. You're doing 55 in a 25, the police car pulls up behind you, the lights turn on. That tells you to STOP. You don't get to slow down to the speed limit and say "hey, I am now compliant". You STOP and stay stopped until the officer allows you to move again (with their choice of a warning or ticket or arrest - especially for 55 in a 25!). The judge says STOP ... you stop.
 
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