Have you started to use Periscope, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts on Air YouTube live or other live video platforms for your business? If so, you need to be aware of the implications for copyright.
Just because you have the ability to live stream does not mean that you have the rights to share content – or even copy other broadcasters content and re-post their live streams – as some people will have you believe (including a number of people who are teaching other how to use mobile live streaming on apps such as Periscope).
I therefore thought it appropriate to share some tips that you can explore in relation to Copyright and live streaming – please note I am not an expert on Copyright, nor a lawyer, but with over 10 years experience in creating, producing, publishing, writing, speaking and teaching digital communications, I have a few guidelines that you may find of assistance.
Familiarise Yourself With The Terms Of Service For The Live Streaming Platform
What ever platform you use make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terms of service for each of the platforms you are using – for example the Periscope Terms of Service are here.
You are responsible for your use of Periscope Services, for any Content you post to Periscope, and for any consequences thereof. The Content you submit, post, or display will be able to be viewed by other users and through third party services and websites. You should only provide Content you are comfortable sharing with others under these Terms.
Periscope’s Terms of Service state that as the broadcaster, you retain your rights to any Content you record through Periscope. But by submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Periscope, you grant them a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute the content. This also relates to companies, organisations or individuals who partner with Twitter, Inc. for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication.
This does not however give people the right to record your content and republish it on other platforms as some people are starting to do.
Review The Copyright Statement For The Live Stream Platform
Ensure that you review the copyright statement of the live streaming apps that you use.
For example in the case of Periscope they state:
Twitter, Inc. respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects users of Periscope Services to do the same. We will respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement that comply with applicable law and are properly provided to us.
In the case of Periscope they also refer to their Community Guidelines.
Update September 2016: Since writing this article Facebook Live has become a very popular live stream platform.
In 2016 Facebook has introduced their rights manager – in their announcement in April 2016, they stated that they had taken steps to ensure that Rights Manager protects live video streams as well – every Facebook Live video stream is reviewed against files in the Rights Manager reference library, and if a match surfaces, they will interrupt that live video. Read more about this and what happens to your live stream if there is a content ID match.
It also should be noted that Facebook does reference copyright guidelines on their introductory page about Facebook Live.
Understand The Rules Of Any Event Where You Are Live Streaming
I have noticed many people live streaming from conferences and events. It is essential to seek the permission of the event organiser and the people featured in the live stream (including the audience).
If you have minors attending the event then you need to seek the permission of their guardians.
The event organiser may not permit live streaming if their content is being monetised. Some speakers do not permit the recording of their content at events – for example, I agree the arrangements with event organisers in my terms of business for the events I speak at.
Even if the event is free, the event organiser may have decided to use a platform that enables them to capture email addresses of registrants as part of their lead generation, so they probably will not be pleased to see the event being made available without their authorisation.
And in the case of celebrities, I have noticed a number of them including Richard Branson refuse to appear in a live stream.
In the case of live events such as sporting events or musical events, there are often specific commercial contracts for the broadcast and re-broadcast of content. For example in the case of Wimbledon that starts today, while the organisation is live streaming through Periscope, they have stated that spectators are not allowed to. They also implemented a ban on selfie sticks.
Be Familiar With How To File A Copyright Claim
One of the things I have heard and seen people do is recording other peoples live streams and publishing them on their own online video channels such as YouTube.
I have noticed some people even teaching others how to do this using third party tools in Periscope broadcasts to capture the live stream broadcast or the replay.
For example in the case of Hangouts On Air they offer the facility for people to embed their live stream in their own website.
Google Hangouts On Air also allows you to embed the live stream of another broadcaster using the YouTube embed code.
Periscope provides guidance on what to do if you think your content has been subject to Copyright infringement here.
You can file a Copyright Complaint on YouTube here if you find someone has re-broadcast your content without permission.
You should also familiarise yourself with the copyright guidelines of the country where you are based and broadcasting fromas they may differ from country to country.
Some creators may make their content available under Creative Commons licenses which are a standard way for content creators to grant someone else permission to use their work – you will find for example content uploaded to the photo sharing site Flickr and to YouTube enable creators to assign a licence.
Also be aware of what is considered ‘fair use’ that refers to that you can re-use copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without getting permission from the copyright owner. A helpful overview can be found here on YouTube.
Be Aware Of The Copyright Terms For Platforms Where You Plan To Re-post Your Live Stream
I have posted some of my Periscope live stream broadcasts on YouTube. However, one thing you need to be aware of if you do this is the issue of Content ID. For example I have noticed many broadcasters on Periscope and Facebook Live have music playing in the background of their love stream. If they then uploaded the video recording of the live stream to YouTube they may find they get a copyright strike.
This could result in them having the audio for the video deleted, have the video taken down, lose features previously available to them on YouTube or even lose their channel.
A helful FAQ to YouTube and Copyright is here.
Be Aware That Live Streaming Could Cost You Your Job
I wrote previously about the veteran broadcaster Tony Blackburn being told to stop live streaming on Periscope when he was at Broadcasting House as he had not got permission to do so.
We are also discovering some newscasters and journalists being fired or sanctioned for their use of live streaming, such as Marisa Mendelson of a Tuscan news station who confirmed being fired on her Facebook page.
Stephanie Wei had her national media credentials revoked by the PGA Tour in the US after using Periscope.
So be aware, not complying to Copyright when live streaming could have deeper ramifations than losing access to your live stream account.
Learn To Integrate Live Streaming Into Your Digital Marketing Responsibly
Mobile live streaming is an extremely powerful way to build your online visibility, attract leads and make sales for your business. So do not let the above tips put you off using the new platforms. If you are unclear what the issues relating to Copyright are as they relate to your business, I highly recommend reaching out to a legal advisor.
If your organisation wants to learn more about how to use live streaming to deliver your marketing and communications you can book a private consultation or a customised in-house workshop – I would be delighted to share with you some ideas of how live streaming could support the delivery of the strategic plan for your business.