Listen Live

STATEWIDE–Four cities in Indiana are suing online streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu. The lawsuit demands that those streaming services pay the same franchise fees to local governments that cable companies must pay.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports the class-action filed earlier this month argues that Disney, Netflix, Hulu, DirecTV, and DISH Network must pay a 5% franchise fee of gross revenue to the localities of where the customers live because of the use of internet equipment in the public right of way to transmit programming.

It was filed by Indianapolis, Valparaiso, Fishers, and Evansville.

To date, none of the defendants — Netflix, Disney, Hulu, DirectTV, and Dish Network — have registered as a franchise or paid the required fees to the plaintiffs — Valparaiso, Fishers, Indianapolis, and Evansville — or any of the 600 other Indiana units of local government potentially owed money, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also demands the companies be required to pay unpaid fees for past services and future fees that are required by law.

An estimate of how much money is owed statewide is not known.

The companies have not issued a response to the lawsuit.