Copyright rules for Facebook live video - How to not get flagged

Jun 23, 2017 4:06:00 PM

It’s 2017 and we are still in the wild west of online video. However, the space is starting to mature and big players like YouTube and Facebook are implementing methods to become safer for everyone while working to lessen their own risk.

One example of the crackdown on content is a new strike-based system. Videos that were ok to stream a few months ago are now being flagged. Some are even being stripped of audio or completely removed before the broadcast has ended. Here is one support ticket we are starting to see more and more:

“My videos keep getting flagged or removed when I play my music in the background. How do I stop them from getting flagged?”

Unfortunately there isn’t an easy answer…

What content gets flagged?

 In most cases videos are removed for copyright infringement. Here are a few examples:

  1. Your live stream features or plays clips from a movie or video during the live broadcast.
  1. You are attempting to stream a live performance or play.
  1. There is recorded music from a PA or sound system playing in the background.

Why does this happen?

  1. If you don’t have rights to the content your stream or upload then Facebook, YouTube, etc. are liable.
  1. Facebook and YouTube are protecting themselves by implementing automated takedowns.
  1. For uploaded video some copyrighted content can be claimed by the owner and the publisher can run ads against it. However, this doesn’t cover all copyrighted material and this type of system is more difficult to implement in real-time for live content. 

What if I buy rights?

Buying rights to include licensed audio on your live stream are next to impossible. Only big brands typically have direct access to the rights holders. Here are some ways you can acquire rights:

  1. Online radio stations pay licensing fees to groups like SoundExchange for audio only streaming.
  1. Movie studios, retail stores, restaurants and venues work directly with music licensing groups like ASCAP and BMI.
  1. Theaters and schools acquire performance rights for copyrighted music when they host plays and events.

However, these licensing rights are limited to these specific use cases. Rights for performance typically don’t apply to “broadcasting” and “re-transmission” in a video format.

To make matters worse, even if you do have rights there isn't a standardized way to proactively let social platforms know. It simply doesn’t exist.

What if I just do it?

If you only have one or two strikes you will probably be ok. Repeat offenders risk having their social account blocked and losing the ability to post new content. Infringing on a copyright can have fines up to $150,000 per occurrence and jail time

https://www.lib.purdue.edu/.../CopyrightBa.../penalties.html

So what are my options? 

Switcher user, Phil Moakes said, “We just don't include recorded tracks any more.” 

Here are some suggestions on how to play by the rules:

  1. Stream content that doesn’t include other people’s works.
  1. Be original and plan ahead.
  1. Have an alternative or backup plan in place if copyrighted material unexpectedly plays.

It's not uncommon for event based streams to get flagged becuase they often have music in the background . This could include sporting events, pageants and concerts. If you are streaming a ticketed event you may consider broadcasting to a paid streaming solution that is less stringent about automated content ID. Depending on the platform you may even be able to monetize the stream to help offset costs assoicated with video hosting and delivery.

TLDR; If you are using a free streaming service like Facebook, YouTube or Twitch, you can expect them to take copyright seriously.

Topics: Tips & Tricks

Nick Mattingly

Written by Nick Mattingly

CEO & Co-Founder: Nick is an industry expert with 10+ years experience in video streaming, online monetization and new technologies. Nick offers a hands-on approach to groups and organizations when a project will benefit from new communication technologies.