4 Indiana cities sue Netflix, Hulu for unpaid franchise fees

Four Indiana cities are suing video streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu, seeking to require them to pay the same franchise fees to local governments that cable companies must pay.

Posted: Aug 16, 2020 9:34 AM

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Four Indiana cities are suing video streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu, seeking to require them to pay the same franchise fees to local governments that cable companies must pay.

The class-action lawsuit filed this month argues that major video streaming services must pay a 5% franchise fee of gross revenue to the localities where their customers reside because of the use of internet equipment in the public right of way to transmit programming.

The lawsuit demands the companies — Netflix, Disney, Hulu, DirectTV and Dish Network — be required to pay unpaid fees for past services and all future fees required by law, The Northwest Indiana Times reported. It was filed by the cities of Valparaiso, Fishers, Indianapolis and Evansville.

An estimate of how much money is owed statewide was not provided.

According to the lawsuit, cable companies have abided by the Video Service Franchises Act’s requirements and handed over the fees. The money is typically paid by cable subscribers as an additional charge on their monthly bills.

Records maintained by the Valparaiso clerk-treasurer show the city received $446,000 in video franchise fees last year, compared with $476,000 in 2017 — a decline likely to an increasing number of residents “cutting the cord” by replacing their cable television service with subscriptions to streaming services.

City attorney Patrick Lyp said the lawsuit will level the playing field so all companies delivering video programming in Valparaiso and across the state pay the fees.

Court records show the streaming service companies have not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

A similar lawsuit seeking to require streaming services pay local franchise fees still is pending in Missouri after being filed last year by the city of Creve Coeur.

West Lafayette
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 44°
Kokomo
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Rensselaer
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 40°
Crawfordsville
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 37°
Frankfort
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 44°
Delphi
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Monticello
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Logansport
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Remaining Dry and Trending Warmer for the Upcoming Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events