Copyrighted Music on Live Streaming

COPYRIGHTED MUSIC ON LIVE STREAMINGThis has become a more chronic issue and has more relevance in light of Facebook’s announcement on September 1, 2020 so I wanted to put together a post for you to learn how copyrighted music on live streaming is treated on social media..

THE HISTORY

Historically it was possible for you to go live on YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, or Facebook and have copyright music on in the background. Even if you didn’t own the rights, it was fine for you to keep it on in the background. Not legal, but also not punishment worthy. Back then you could even post the video with the music on your channel and it didn’t matter.

The First Crackdown

Then, a few years ago the RIAA took notice, and began to submit copyright infringement notices to the social media platforms. As a result, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook began to take down posted videos with copyrighted music. You could stream live with the music, but you couldn’t post it. That wasn’t legal either, but the powers that be lacked the technology to see how the music was being used. To combat this, streamers used disclaimers that said they didn’t own the rights to any of the music. That worked for a little while. But then….

Current Day

Just recently, Twitch received thousands of take down requests from for videos using copyrighted music, threatening legal action. Twitch jumped into action and worked with the streamers to remove all content that violates copyright. It’s the platform’s responsibility to ensure that users don’t post content that violate’s the terms of service.  This includes not infringing on copyright.

Why does COPYRIGHT impact some people and not others?

I have no good answer for this other than I would GUESS it’s because there are several different versions of Facebook out there, and some are more adept at identifying the copyrighted music. The AI is also notoriously unreliable, and will sometimes erroneously designate something as copyrighted when it’s not.

What should you do instead?

Using copyrighted music on live streaming has always been at your own risk. If you continue to use copyrighted music, then you’re accepting that the potential consequence is that your live will be shut down or deleted or that you could lose your account, depending on the number of violations and the severity. If you are truly concerned I recommend using one of these resources.
Alternatively you can do a search on Google for Copyright Free Music for Streaming and check out the multitude of options available for you there. It’s important to note that though things look bleak right now for playing copyrighted music on your lives, musicians and streamers alike want to see the status quo changed. In August 2020, in an open letter to Bezos, musicians demand to know why Twitch doesn’t license music and Facebook has recently begun licensing music videos for the platform. Change will be slow to come but the wheels are moving in the right direction. In the meantime your best bet is to use compliant music until the social media platforms find an alternative. 

Let me know what you think!

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