Covid-19 Creates a New Wave of Virtual Content
Covid-19 has changed the world in which we live. We have learned to work remotely and virtually visit with friends and family. We participate in “telemedicine,” virtual classrooms, and find creative ways to deliver and receive entertainment. Musicians, artists, actors, and other “performers” have been generous with their displays and sharing of content. DJ’s are doing virtual live music sessions on Instagram.
Athletes are playing video games on ESPN. Choirs are singing show tunes from around the globe. Celebrities are dancing to popular songs in Tik Tok videos.
Can Existing Copyright Laws Handle so Much Digital Streaming?
A recent Los Angeles Times (LA Times) article highlights some of the goodwill that has come from our immersion into the world of virtual reality. However, the article suggests that the amount of digital content that is being created has “powerful ramifications in terms of intellectual property.” Covid-19 has resulted in months of “casually spread” material- without licenses, permission, or compensation. At what point will copyright-holders want it to stop? When they are ready, will they musicians, photographers, or dancers, be able to enforce their rights?
Edward Klaris writes, “Streaming images, video, music, and books turn every interaction and event into a performance, display, or broadcast of intellectual property. And the law requires licenses for such streaming to protect the content of the creators.”
How many copyright lawsuits will result when the goodwill stops and artists want to get paid for the use of their work? Will existing copyright laws be enough to protect creative professionals?
Klaris suggests the answer is “no.” He points to several streaming services that continue to use unlicensed materials. For example, he claims that 50% of the music used by Tik Tok is not licensed. Also, Klaris points out that the rules associated with traditional licensing of copyrighted music, do not always apply to music synched to video, which is a significant component of streaming content.
Live internet events, which are becoming the norm, also raise licensing issues. Even if you wanted to license such content, how would you do it?
Copyright Laws and Licensing Arrangements Might Have to Evolve
The LA Times article asks more questions than it answers. But there is a single point to it all: To avoid the “free for all” harkening back to when Napster “almost destroyed” the music industry with free streaming, the stakeholders “need to create an easy policing system, such as copyright registries, user-friendly online legal content marketplaces (like Apple music) or a statute that provides for compulsory licensing of sync licenses…” Klaris also suggests, “Copyright owners could deploy anti-piracy software to troll the internet for unlicensed works — this tech is already within sight — automatically identifying and even charging the infringers with financial penalties or issuing licenses.”
Call Our Copyright Lawyers: We Help Creative Professionals Enforce Copyright
By protecting and enforcing, copyright means you receive the compensation you deserve for your hard work.
There might be a time and place, should you choose, to be generous with your work. However, do not let the public or other entities take advantage of your goodwill.
Call Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, for a free evaluation of your copyright infringement case. If someone is violating your copyright or a licensing agreement, call us now at 800-778-1660.