AT&T Just Donated $500,000 to Locast (2 Viewers)

Juan

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Thats cool..but your tv has to lock on the signal...a VHF signal bounces further than a uhf signal..in analogue thats a good thing...in digital that distorts the digital information that embedded in the wave..the digital tuner has a harder time decoding distorted information...when I say decode..thats signal lock..its all about line of sight..if your antenna is in a good location...but if the signal bounces off a building or mountain to reach your antenna..you are pretty much screwed with digital
I don't know what lists you've been looking at, but when the repack is completed, about 25% of all stations will be on VHF, both high and low. And the "type" of signal has not changed, only the modulated format carried by the signal has changed. Digital or analog is irrelevant until the signal reaches the receiver where it's decoded. As long as the receiver sees a strong enough signal in a format it understands, it'll work fine whether the antenna is a 100 element Yagi or a paper clip.

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NYDutch

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Thats cool..but your tv has to lock on the signal...a VHF signal bounces further than a uhf signal..in analogue thats a good thing...in digital that distorts the digital information that embedded in the wave..the digital tuner has a harder time decoding distorted information...when I say decode..thats signal lock..its all about line of sight..if your antenna is in a good location...but if the signal bounces off a building or mountain to reach your antenna..you are pretty much screwed with digital

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I agree that digital requires a more stable signal than analog does. And yes, that does shorten the effective range of the signal in some cases. But that doesn't change the fact that the antenna type is irrelevant to a digital or analog signal. So called "digital" and "HD" antenna labels are nothing but marketing hype. VHF and UHF make no difference either, as long as an antenna tuned for the appropriate frequency range and designed for the needed distance is used.
 

Juan

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I never mentioned antenna type... but rabbit ears are for VHF...the old round antenna was for UHF...i said a signal has to reach the antenna...not a special antenna for digital...sorry for the confusion
I agree that digital requires a more stable signal than analog does. And yes, that does shorten the effective range of the signal in some cases. But that doesn't change the fact that the antenna type is irrelevant to a digital or analog signal. So called "digital" and "HD" antenna labels are nothing but marketing hype. VHF and UHF make no difference either, as long as an antenna tuned for the appropriate frequency range and designed for the needed distance is used.

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slice1900

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You do know the Locast app is already on the Hopper, don't you? And we already have the option of dropping the sat locals. And ATT has added the app to the DTV and I think U-Verse boxes. Some cable companies have also promoted Locast as a retrans dispute option. I suspect there'll be a lawsuit at some point, but the odds of it succeeding seem to be pretty slim unless the law is changed.

I would guess there's a pretty high probability of the "law is changed" if courts shoot them down, or their lawyers believe the case is unwinnable. Instead of suing they might put their money toward bribing er I mean "donating to" all the congressmen and senators running for re-election near year. All they need to do is talk about how Locast will put all the local stations out of business, meaning lost jobs in your districts, people without any way to get local news and severe weather alerts, etc. and they'll get it changed. Copyright has never been a partisan issue, they would likely get their way regardless of who is in the white house or in control of congress come 2021.

The copyright exception for non-profits is probably due to libraries. Change the law to clarify that the exception is for physical media only, not electronic, and Locast is toast without hurting libraries at all.
 
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NYDutch

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I would guess there's a pretty high probability of the "law is changed" if courts shoot them down, or their lawyers believe the case is unwinnable. Instead of suing they might put their money toward bribing er I mean "donating to" all the congressmen and senators running for re-election near year. All they need to do is talk about how Locast will put all the local stations out of business, meaning lost jobs in your districts, people without any way to get local news and severe weather alerts, etc. and they'll get it changed. Copyright has never been a partisan issue, they would likely get their way regardless of who is in the white house or in control of congress come 2021.

The copyright exception for non-profits is probably due to libraries. Change the law to clarify that the exception is for physical media only, not electronic, and Locast is toast without hurting libraries at all.

I can't think of any reason why a library would be relaying an OTA signal by any means. As long as Locast is restricting the availability of their service to the stations tower coverage area, I think the stations would have a tough time making a case in court. Whether someone gets the signal on their rabbit ears or their smart phone would be irrelevant in my opinion.
 

slice1900

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I can't think of any reason why a library would be relaying an OTA signal by any means. As long as Locast is restricting the availability of their service to the stations tower coverage area, I think the stations would have a tough time making a case in court. Whether someone gets the signal on their rabbit ears or their smart phone would be irrelevant in my opinion.

What?

I'm talking about libraries making copies of newspaper on microfiche, allowing people to xerox pages out of books, that sort of thing. That's probably why there's an exemption in copyright law for non-profits.
 

Juan

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NYDutch

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What?

I'm talking about libraries making copies of newspaper on microfiche, allowing people to xerox pages out of books, that sort of thing. That's probably why there's an exemption in copyright law for non-profits.

Ok, it's clear that you're not familiar with 17 USC 111, "Limitations on exclusive rights: Secondary transmissions of broadcast programming by cable". Section (a)(5) is the part of the law that exempts non-profits like SFCNY/Locast from paying a fee to retransmit broadcast signals. That section has no application to libraries obviously.

17 U.S. Code § 111 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Secondary transmissions of broadcast programming by cable
 
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slice1900

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Ok, it's clear that you're not familiar with 17 USC 111, "Limitations on exclusive rights: Secondary transmissions of broadcast programming by cable". Section (a)(5) is the part of the law that exempts non-profits like SFCNY/Locast from paying a fee to retransmit broadcast signals. That section has no application to libraries obviously.

17 U.S. Code § 111 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Secondary transmissions of broadcast programming by cable

I didn't realize there was a specific carve out for non profit retransmissions, I assumed it was more general. That makes it even easier, unfortunately.

They are already debating STELA reauthorization which is along similar lines, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see that passed late this year (it expires on Dec. 31 so they need to do it by then) with an amendment that removes that paragraph that allows for non-profits to rebroadcast. The whole STELA reauth will probably end up as a rider on some other bill like one that funds the FCC, so it'll be a "must pass". All it needs is one congressman on the right committee paid off by the NAB to insert that.
 

Juan

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And hundreds of translators suddenly go silent
I didn't realize there was a specific carve out for non profit retransmissions, I assumed it was more general. That makes it even easier, unfortunately.

They are already debating STELA reauthorization which is along similar lines, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see that passed late this year (it expires on Dec. 31 so they need to do it by then) with an amendment that removes that paragraph that allows for non-profits to rebroadcast. The whole STELA reauth will probably end up as a rider on some other bill like one that funds the FCC, so it'll be a "must pass". All it needs is one congressman on the right committee paid off by the NAB to insert that.

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NYDutch

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I didn't realize there was a specific carve out for non profit retransmissions, I assumed it was more general. That makes it even easier, unfortunately.

They are already debating STELA reauthorization which is along similar lines, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see that passed late this year (it expires on Dec. 31 so they need to do it by then) with an amendment that removes that paragraph that allows for non-profits to rebroadcast. The whole STELA reauth will probably end up as a rider on some other bill like one that funds the FCC, so it'll be a "must pass". All it needs is one congressman on the right committee paid off by the NAB to insert that.
Read the complete text of 17 USC 111 and notice the scope of retransmissions the exemptions cover. Then try to figure out how STELAR could be written to disallow SFCNY/Locast without also harming all the other listed exemptions. Locast is not the only entity that would be shut down. I think it will take a court test to secure Locast's place in the broadcast world, but I also think SFCNY will win. It would be very difficult to eliminate Locast without also eliminating all other non-profits.
 

NYDutch

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Aren't translators owned by the main station that is being 'translated'?
Not necessarily. I've read about a few that are operated by non-profit ham radio clubs along with their own ham band relays to serve difficult to reach areas for OTA antennas. I have no idea how many of them might exist nationwide though.
 

bcwmachine

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Not necessarily. I've read about a few that are operated by non-profit ham radio clubs along with their own ham band relays to serve difficult to reach areas for OTA antennas. I have no idea how many of them might exist nationwide though.
Check out "rabbitears cortez, co." google search
 
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NashGuy

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I didn't realize there was a specific carve out for non profit retransmissions, I assumed it was more general. That makes it even easier, unfortunately.

They are already debating STELA reauthorization which is along similar lines, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see that passed late this year (it expires on Dec. 31 so they need to do it by then) with an amendment that removes that paragraph that allows for non-profits to rebroadcast. The whole STELA reauth will probably end up as a rider on some other bill like one that funds the FCC, so it'll be a "must pass". All it needs is one congressman on the right committee paid off by the NAB to insert that.

If the GOP still controlled the House, I'd agree with you. With Dems in control (and, sure, they have corporate donors too), I'm somewhat doubtful that STELA will be reauthorized but with the non-profit exemption (upon which Locast relies) stripped out. Remember, all taxing and funding bills must originate in the House, where Dems control all the committees.
 
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NashGuy

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Read the complete text of 17 USC 111 and notice the scope of retransmissions the exemptions cover. Then try to figure out how STELAR could be written to disallow SFCNY/Locast without also harming all the other listed exemptions. Locast is not the only entity that would be shut down. I think it will take a court test to secure Locast's place in the broadcast world, but I also think SFCNY will win. It would be very difficult to eliminate Locast without also eliminating all other non-profits.

Interesting. Before Locast can really grow and have any kind of serious impact on the broadcast industry (i.e. retransmission fees), it will need to survive a court challenge.

Then next question is whether or not Locast's raw streams could legally be passed outside of Locast's control, i.e. outside of their own app, and into other apps which would allow the streams to be locally recorded and also to be natively integrated into the same channel guide with subscription channels. Imagine, for instance, if AT&T could take the Locast streams and, paying nothing to anyone, integrate them into the DirecTV Now app in place of streams for those same local channels originating from AT&T's own servers (for which AT&T would have had to compensate the local broadcasters). Hard to see how a court would allow that to happen as it would completely undermine STELA.
 

NYDutch

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Interesting. Before Locast can really grow and have any kind of serious impact on the broadcast industry (i.e. retransmission fees), it will need to survive a court challenge.

Then next question is whether or not Locast's raw streams could legally be passed outside of Locast's control, i.e. outside of their own app, and into other apps which would allow the streams to be locally recorded and also to be natively integrated into the same channel guide with subscription channels. Imagine, for instance, if AT&T could take the Locast streams and, paying nothing to anyone, integrate them into the DirecTV Now app in place of streams for those same local channels originating from AT&T's own servers (for which AT&T would have had to compensate the local broadcasters). Hard to see how a court would allow that to happen as it would completely undermine STELA.
How would AT&T or any other carrier grabbing Locast's feed and integrating into their own service differ from them grabbing the OTA signal either directly or from another translator and integrating it? In either case, the onus would be on the integrating carrier to comply with the law. Locast already is...
 

slice1900

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If the GOP still controlled the House, I'd agree with you. With Dems in control (and, sure, they have corporate donors too), I'm somewhat doubtful that STELA will be reauthorized but with the non-profit exemption (upon which Locast relies) stripped out. Remember, all taxing and funding bills must originate in the House, where Dems control all the committees.

Why? There is no partisan divide over broadcast related issues, they are both totally beholden to corporate interests in that area. If for no other reason than they know they will get no pressure from constituents for doing what the broadcast industry wants. There aren't a million people all over the country calling their congressman telling them "if you don't renew DNS I'll vote for the other guy". Stuff like that or Locast is not even on voter's radar, so it is easy for them to just do what the lobbyists pay them to do.

Besides, the senate can amend the bills that come from the house and then it is resolved in a conference committee - which will have senior people who are most likely to have been accepting money from NAB lobbyists for years.
 

NashGuy

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How would AT&T or any other carrier grabbing Locast's feed and integrating into their own service differ from them grabbing the OTA signal either directly or from another translator and integrating it? In either case, the onus would be on the integrating carrier to comply with the law. Locast already is...

Is Locast simply passing through the unmolested ATSC 1.0 MPEG-2 TS the same way that a OTA translator does? No, they're not. They're transcoding the signal (without the original broadcaster's permission) and then distributing it over the internet, a technology that does not naturally impede the geographic reach or reception of the signal as OTA distribution does. (Yes, Locast chooses to impose geofencing on their app's access to distant streams but, from your perspective on this matter, under what theory of the existing law would you say that is necessary?)

All that said, yes, the court *might* allow Locast's current behavior to stand, saying that, even though it involves the unauthorized transcoding of the signal, and even though it allows for pristine, friction-free redistribution over the internet, it's still covered within STELA's non-profit safe harbor. But if the court were to allow that, I think they might well also require that the transcoding done by Locast lock their streams to their own app and/or other apps operated by non-profit groups. Allowing their Locast streams to be ingested by an app operated by a for-profit company (e.g. AT&T) -- especially a pay TV operator/MVPD -- would seem to violate the spirit of the law and definitely undermine the whole retransmission consent scheme that's been in place since the early 90s.
 

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