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Locast Ordered to Shut Down Permanently

Ben Bowman

It’s the end of the road for Locast. The service was ordered to shut down forever in a permanent injunction issued yesterday by a federal judge.

If Locast wants to get back on the air, it will have to win on appeal to a federal appeals court. The service paused its operations after the previous legal ruling on September 1. The judge said Locast doesn’t qualify for a copyright-law exemption available to nonprofits.

The Streamable has collected other ways you can stream local channels in Locast’s absence.

Broadcasters are cheering Locast’s demise. On Monday, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch danced on Locast’s grave. “Clearly, the court loss for the rogue piracy business, Locast, was an important one for us,” Murdoch said. “We will always vigorously defend our intellectual property. And it’s just pleasing to see that a threat out there or someone who thought they could steal our content for free and subvert the business model of television, broadcast television in this country, it’s pleasing to see that threat has been averted.”

The “Big Four” broadcast networks sued Locast in July 2019, claiming that Locast needed a retransmission license to stream their local affiliates. Locast defended itself as a nonprofit, saying they were only streaming a signal that was already available for free over the air.

If you used Locast for free, your stream would be interrupted every 15 minutes unless you paid $5.50/month. The judge in the case seemed to think that was fine, except for how Locast used that money. Instead of merely using the money to operate, Locast used the money to expand into new territory, and the judge ruled that a violation of the law.

Prior to the suspension, Locast streamed broadcast stations in 36 markets within reach of 55 percent of the U.S. population.

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Los Angeles
  • Madison
  • Miami
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Portland
  • Phoenix
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rapid City
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Sacramento
  • San Francisco
  • Scranton
  • Seattle
  • Sioux City
  • Sioux Falls
  • Tampa Bay
  • Tri-Cities
  • Washington DC
  • West Palm Beach

Related: Post-Locast: Why Can’t We Just Stream Local Channels?


Locast is a live TV streaming service offering access to local TV affiliates in 36 markets. The service has been suspended because of a legal fight with broadcasters. Whether or not it returns, viewers have other options to watch local channels for free.

While the service could be used for free, users who didn’t pay for the membership tier would get a prompt to donate every 15 minutes. After the prompt, users were kicked back to the home screen and booted off the channel they were watching.

Locast could be viewed within Sling TV on select devices.

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