3 Count: Locast Outcast

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Note: Due to the effects of Hurricane Ida, we missed over a week of regular news, so this is a catch-up edition of the 3 Count. Stories will be older than normal. We will be back to regular news tomorrow.

1: Locast’s Free TV Service Shuts Down After Losing Copyright Ruling

First off today, Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica reports that the free TV streaming service Locast has shut down, at least for now, following a significant courtroom defeat.

Locast offered a service that allowed users to access free, over-the-air broadcast television via the internet. All the major networks filed a lawsuit against it in July 2019 but Locast argued that it was exempt from payment as it is a non-profit service.

However, the judge in the case granted a motion to dismiss that affirmative defense, specifically because it uses funds from paying customers to pay for its expansion in to new markets, not merely to offset costs. Locast has said it may appeal the decision but, meanwhile, has opted to shutter its service.

2: Google Appeals France’s ‘Disproportionate’ $591 Million Fine in Copyright Row

Next up today, Reuters reports that Google has filed an appeal of its 500 million Euro ($591 million) fine that was imposed by the French anti-trust agency over the ongoing dispute between the search giant and local media companies.

The fine came after a new European Union copyright directive took effect in the country that required search engines, like Google, to pay to license content from news services. According to the French government, Google has not done enough to secure fair licenses, though Google has said that it is working to secure those licenses and is paying more than enough to comply with the law.

As such, Google has appealed the fine and that appeal will be heard by Paris’ court of appeal. Meanwhile, Google has been tasked with drafting a proposal for how it will compensate news agencies for the use of its content, or it could face additional fines of up to 900,000 Euros ($1,063,000) per day it fails to comply.

3: Brit Extradited to US on Movie Piracy Charges

Finally today, Colin Mann at Advanced Television reports that a UK citizen has been extradited to the United States over allegations that he was a member of the Sparks Group, an international piracy group that, previously, distributed movies and television shows online.

The man, George Bridi, was arrested in Paphos, Cyprus in August 2020. However, the extradition process has completed and now Bridi is in U.S. custody. There, he will join his co-defendant Jonatan Correa, who pleaded guilty to participating in the ring in May and was given three years and three months of supervised release.

Another alleged member of the group, a Norwegian named Umar Ahmad, remains at large.

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