Locast, a Free App Streaming Network TV, Would Love to Get Sued

From NYTs

On the roof of a luxury building at the edge of Central Park, 585 feet above the concrete, a lawyer named David Goodfriend has attached a modest four-foot antenna that is a threat to the entire TV-industrial complex. 

The device is there to soak up TV signals coursing through the air — content from NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS and CBS, including megahits like “This Is Us” and this Sunday’s broadcast of Super Bowl LIII. Once plucked from the ether, the content is piped through the internet and assembled into an app called Locast. It’s a streaming service, and it makes all of this network programming available to subscribers in ways that are more convenient than relying on a home antenna: It’s viewable on almost any device, at any time, in pristine quality that doesn’t cut in and out. It’s also completely free.

If this sounds familiar, you might be thinking of Aereo, the Barry Diller-backed start-up that in 2012 threatened to upend the media industry by capturing over-the-air TV signals and streaming the content to subscribers for a fee — while not paying broadcasters a dime. NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox banded together and sued, eventually convincing the Supreme Court that Aereo had violated copyright law. The clear implication for many: If you mess with the broadcasters, you’ll file for bankruptcy and cost your investors more than $100 million.

More here.

Posted in Innovation, IPRs, Technology and tagged , , .

5 Comments

  1. The lawyer behind the new streaming app Locast is pushing the limits of the law. The way Locast works is just an antenna that picks up networks that people would need to pay for, and acts as a non-profit. An app similar to Locast once existed, Aereo, but clearly violated copyright law. It’s an expensive mess to clean up, but Locast functioning as a non-profit challenges copyright law and discourages networks from taking legal action against Locast. With cable’s dwindling popularity, networks that Locast has started streaming are forced to allow streaming of their shows online. The only issue with most of the network’s sites are that you still need cable to stream these shows online, not making it much different from cable, other than the aspect of access to shows while being away from your television. While that sounds like a big deal, when big television streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, owning cable doesn’t make much sense. Locast offering what cable and other streaming sites have for free, royally screw networks and companies out of profit they need to exist. It is clear that the television business is expensive, even for Netflix and Hulu. While the NYT article indicates the issues cable and satellite companies have challenging Locast, it could very easily be Netflix that finds a way of taking Locast down; or it could mean going out of business for a company doing incredibly well. Netflix has recently increased their subscription prices on top of Locast growing in popularity. This could lead to financial hits for the streaming platform people love so much. Hulu, having problems of it’s own with Disney parting ways from the split ownership, could struggle as it is owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable (AT&T). Considering the rapid changes of the television industry, it doesn’t surprise me that Locast was started and is offering people the equivalent of free cable, Netflix, and Hulu combined.

  2. In the article “Locast, a free App streaming Network TV Would Love to Get sued. A lawyer Mr. Goodfriend has attached a modest four-foot antenna that is a threat to the entire TV-industrial complex. “The devise is there to soak up TV signals coursing through the air” this antenna gets content from NBC, ABC, FOX, PBS, and CBS, I guess you can say all the good channels in the TV industry that you are only allowed to broadcast if you have a table provider of some sort. The app that features these networks across the internet is called “Locast,” it is more reliable than a home antenna, I personally do not have cable due to my brother, when he was younger he would wake up like at 4:00 or 5:00 am to watch his cartoons, my mom was not going to allow this situation from going on any further and decided to cut the cable and since that moment on we haven’t had cable. Our home antenna is not perfect, but it gets the job done, I get to enjoy my Tv shows that air on ABC, NBC, and especially ion television, for me that’s more than enough to keep me busy. Mr. Goodfriend’s argument about “The American people have given you something really valuable, the airways, for free…. So, shouldn’t we get something back for free? If there is a way to cut down all the Netflix fees, Hulu subscriptions or any kind of fee that requires people to pay in order to watch a TV show is absurd but everything in this world is a business trend. The base of our world is founded by many organizations and companies, whether its technology or clothes, these big industries are nationally everywhere and are conquering the world step by step. A key example is Amazon, what doesn’t Amazon do is the real question here, sooner or later Amazon is going to be the biggest empire in the world, and will basically be at every corner of the world. Of course, it would be magnificent if it were possible to watch all the channels for free without having to pay a single penny, but this is something unrealistic that may or may not happen one day.

  3. I find this concept of television networks very interesting. In the next few years something has to give. More and more people are cutting the cord and choosing alternative ways to watch television. Because of this, cable companies are raising their charges constantly. Now, accessing your favorite channels, tv shows and movies online is becoming more difficult. At first, there were only a few websites where you could pay a monthly subscription to watch TV shows and movies. For example, Netflix you would pay a small rate and they would have almost every relevant tv show and movie. But now, everyone is deciding they want to have their own streaming site. Coupled with this, services like Netflix keep on raising their rates. This is really hurting consumers, because they are getting less content for more money. Because everyone wants to have their own streaming service, they are removing their content from popular sites like Hulu and Netflix. Just as a couple examples; Disney, HBO and CBS have all started pulling shows in an effort to get people to pay for their monthly service. Like I said in the beginning, I really believe in the next couple of years something has got to give. People are not going to continue to add more and more streaming services. Also, unless they innovate, big cable companies are going to be seriously hurting.

    As the creator of Locast David Goodfriend says, cable tv networks should really be free to us. I’m really not sure how it has become so common for us to just pay companies like Comcast and Verizon to get TV. We pay a high monthly rate to watch the TV, then we have to waste our time watching commercials. Also, we are forced to watch commercials for on demand content. Something doesn’t make sense there. Products typically work in that you either pay to not have ads or you don’t pay and are forced to watch ads.

    I really appreciate what Mr. Goodfriend is doing in allowing people to watch free over the internet. It is basically the same thing as if you had an antenna at your house. It will be very interesting to follow this story and see if the cable companies end up suing him. Like the article mentions, it would be a big win for consumers if he ended up beating them in a lawsuit. This could really open up the door for freeing up the content that we desire.

  4. There’s a new option for those who refuse to pay for television. Locast, a streaming app available on most devices, provides access to popular broadcast stations including Fox, NBC, CBS, etc. Locast operates through the use of high-elevation antennas that capture TV signals. Locast is not a product of the dark web or another program that leads to viruses. As a nonprofit, the free service is completely legal. Locast’s founder, David Goodfriend, found a loophole in copyright regulation that allows for nonprofit organizations that grant patented goods or services without a charge. Therefore, the incredible service is made possible by user donations.

    Locast comes in an age of connectivity. With innovations in technology in the last two decades the internet is available to more people than ever before. The internet is omnipresent in modern societies. For those in urban and suburban settings, internet use is daily. Almost everyone in the developed world relies on the web and its services to entertain, inform and work. One of the most popular types of online interactions occur on social media platforms. Social networking companies like Facebook allow users to communicate with people from all over the world. The beauty of social media is the ability to constantly share information and experiences with friends and families. However, there is a greater significance to social media than sharing Happy Birthdays and cat videos. Social media has helped users find long-lost cousins and reconnect with people from high school. Essentially, an interactive community has been created. This community responds to events that occur within inner circles and world events in real time.
    An online community has bred the GoFundMe movement. The GoFundMe movement can best be described as the tendency to crowdsource, or collectively fund, a project that is perceived as meaningful. For Example, when millions share a story about a girl with Leukemia on Facebook users who are touched by the story can make a direct impact. If the family set up a GoFundMe account then anyone who has access to the internet can donate as much money as they desire so the family can afford treatment. There are thousands of GoFundMe pages that exist for similar causes as well as societal projects. Such societal projects include funding for a public park, feeding the homeless or comprehensive solutions to global warming.

    Crowdfunding doesn’t just exist for ethical causes. Fundraising for business ventures has become incredibly popular in the last decade. Many hopeful entrepreneurs seeking capital for their startups utilize crowdfunding to get off the ground. Websites like Kickstarter give business owners with limited resources the opportunity to appeal to investors. Multimillion dollar businesses that sprung up as a result of crowdfunding include the popular locator app Tile and the video doorbell surveillance system SkyBell.

    Although crowdfunding is often employed at the onset of a company’s lifespan, it can also be implemented into a business model. Some firms, often online, function on the basis of donations. Locast happens to fall into this category. Locast’s growth is completely dependent on donors that allow the institution to remain complementary. Similar entities frequently originate as completely free websites and are forced to seek donations because of their popularity. Wikipedia epitomizes this model. The non-for-profit is a crowdsourcing organization that supplies free knowledge and information from a pool of volunteer editors. Unlike charities that target specific causes, everyone can benefit from Wikipedia and Locast. Crowdsourced services highlight the advantages of the internet as a whole. When used in this light the internet becomes a medium that enhances all users, regardless of economic circumstances.

  5. Say goodbye to cable television, and hello to new streaming services that are now dominating the TV industry. Companies such as Netflix, Hulu and even Youtube are now taking over the world with television series and original movies that are capturing the attention of a new generation that is dependent on streaming services. In this New York Times article, a new streaming service, Locast, is now picking up TV signals from NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS and CBS, challenging them with their free service. This company in particular is just the beginning, so what does this mean for the big guys in broadcasting? Simply put, Locast is the new challenge to overcome, and contrary to past streaming services, this nonprofit organization is treading lightly, not worried about a potential lawsuit on its back. Because it is a nonprofit, the company does not abide to all copyright laws that big companies may use against them. This “nonprofit” idea stemmed from the idea that we, as Americans, are supposed to get television for free. Now, this may seem like a great idea, one that was addressed when broadcasting was just starting to evolve back in the late 1940s; however, this idea comes from socialist ideas. The man behind the operation, Mr. Goodfriend, is not some hot-shot wealthy man- he is simply a lawyer who invested in his own ideas. He not only speaks to those small business people who are not like corporate dogs, but he also speaks to the millennial and Gen Z population with a promise of free television. To many, this may sound like the perfect idea- we can now watch our favorite television shows anywhere we want and for free- but at what cost to society?

    The problem with this idea of “free” streaming is simply an immoral and stupid idea. Companies such as ABC and Fox, no matter how large and wealthy they are, made their fortunes in the way that all businesses ought to- with an idea and working up the ladder. These companies abide by all laws that are set up by our own government and have to distribute their wealth in ways that benefit them, but also the society itself. They produce the footage, get paid, and we in return, get to watch the tv by paying a price. In any economic system, this makes sense- we, as consumers, want something, so we have to pay a price in order to obtain it. It is up to the consumer to decide whether or not they want to watch or purchase their product, which promotes a free market that our country is founded on. With this new streaming service, we are not only taking away the price and priority of the consumers, we are now taking away the free-market foundation of our country that is essential in every aspect of our lives.

    And this is just the beginning. If we provide free television broadcasting for everyone, where do we draw the line? This not only relates just to the entertainment industry, but it also pertains to other things that will effect our economy, such as Healthcare. In my opinion, there is no “social contract” that this new service has to answer to. If you as a consumer don’t want to watch tv, then don’t. If you can’t afford to watch tv and you want to, you should work to pay for it. That not only promotes character in the consumer, but also creates competition, which in return, benefits our society. In all, this streaming service will start a new socialist wave that ought to be avoided with every possible measure.

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