Studio888 / Shutterstock

We reported last week on law firm Reed Smith’s launch of a Guide to Live Streaming report, outlining some of the legal issues around performing music live online – as so many artists are doing during the current lockdown. Now US journalist Cherie Hu has published an article digging into the same topic (while sensibly stressing that as a journalist, she’s not offering legal advice!)

The point that jumps out, and is worth repeating loudly, is not to assume that even the biggest tech platforms with music licences, like Facebook, have artists covered for live broadcasts. “While the likes of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have licensing deals in place with major rights holders, which should technically free individual users from any liability around using that content, those licensing deals only cover on-demand content, not livestreamed content,” wrote Hu.

“For livestreams, many of these same platforms are adopting legal language that puts liability on artists, not on themselves.” Interviewees go on to explain some of the difficulties around platforms pre-licensing livestreams, while acknowledging that as things stand, music performances are going ahead, with little ability for rightsholders to take them down while they’re happening.

Image by Studio888 / Shutterstock

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