After a ruling against Locast in the case with broadcasters, Locast has suspended its frequent interruptions asking users to set up a monthly donation.
Before today, Locast users were asked for a $5.50 monthly donation. Until the monthly donation was set up, programming would be interrupted every 15 minutes for a donation request.
Locast informed users of the update in an email that you read below.
As you probably know, the federal district court in the Southern District of New York issued a ruling in the case brought against Locast by the big media companies. The court concluded that by interrupting programming to ask users for donations, and by suspending those interruptions based on whether a user makes contributions, Locast actually was charging a fee, not merely seeking a voluntary contribution.
The court then concluded that revenues Locast collects in this manner exceed the cost of operating the service because funds are used to add new markets, rendering Locast ineligible to use the copyright exemption for non-profits (17 U.S.C. 111(a)(5)). Although we disagree with this interpretation and are exploring our legal options to contest it, out of respect for the court’s order, Locast is suspending immediately all programming interruptions to request donations.
This means that anyone located in a market we serve who signs up for Locast will get the service without interruption, regardless of whether or not they donate. Of course, it is up to you whether or not to contribute to Locast. But if you currently contribute, we humbly request that you continue to do so. And if you don’t contribute, we hope that you will do so if you can afford it.
The update comes after U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton wrote that income from the $5 donations required for uninterrupted viewing was used for expanding the service, which isn’t permitted under an exemption to the Copyright Act.