October 23rd, 2015

Online Streaming and Copyright Law: What You Need to KnowBy choosing to stream content online, you’ll quickly realize the level of broadcasting power and freedom that you possess. While it’s true that you have great freedom when broadcasting content online, with that freedom comes significant responsibility.

When you’re dealing with online streaming, it’s important to know the legal hurdles that surround copyrighted content. You must make sure that you are complying with all necessary copyright laws related to Internet broadcasting.

This primarily means you should refrain from using the creative works of other individuals or organizations, in your streaming channel without their prior consent. These works are typically defined as:

  • Art
  • Logos/Branding
  • Photographs
  • Licensed characters
  • Music
  • Film or TV clips
  • Written content in the form of published works, scripts, etc.

Copyrighted works are legally protected from online infringement by way of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, often referred to as the DMCA. This piece of legislation, which originally became a law in 1998, protects the rights of copyright owners from falling victim to online theft of their original content without permission. This law also limits Internet service providers from being prosecuted due to their subscribers posting copyrighted material on their servers.

At TikiLIVE, we always comply with the DMCA and work to promptly respond to any claims that our subscribers are infringing on others’ copyrighted materials. TikiLIVE’s DMCA policy is posted on our website (http://www.tikilive.com/page/copyright-policy). If you utilize a streaming channel on TikiLIVE, it’s important that you understand the importance of this policy, how to comply and what to do in the event that you ever receive a DMCA notice.

How Do DMCA Notices Actually Work? 

When a copyright holder notices unauthorized use of their content online, they can send the alleged copyright infringer’s Internet service provider a written notice detailing when and where the unauthorized content was found. These notices most often request the removal of the content from the streaming site and often warn of potential legal action for infringers that fail to comply. At TikiLIVE, our DMCA guidelines require that complaints contain the following information:

  • A detailed description of the unauthorized content
  • The location of the content on a TikiLIVE channel
  • A statement that the notice is provided with the belief that the alleged infringer’s use is not authorized
  • The copyright agent’s (or holder’s) signature on the DMCA notice

As outlined in the terms of the DMCA, TikiLIVE promptly forwards the DMCA notice to the individual subscriber who allegedly posted the material in question. TikiLIVE then has the discretion to take all necessary actions to find an appropriate solution, including removing the content entirely and/or terminating the subscriber’s account completely. Copyright infringement is an extremely serious matter, and TikiLIVE works hard to ensure each instance is handled swiftly and efficiently.

How You Can Avoid Receiving a DMCA Notice 

  • Review surroundings prior to broadcasting – Before you start recording, take a mental note of your surroundings to ensure that there is no music playing in the background. Also, make sure no products or brands are visible in your videos without permission. It’s also important to ensure no trademarked license characters are visible anywhere in the background. 
  • Use all of your own content – This may seem obvious, but the easiest way to avoid copyright issues is to use all of your own content. This includes your own music, art for the backdrop, and your own videos. This is truly the only way to be 100% sure that you’ll never violate anyone’s copyright. 
  • Use other’s content under a Creative Commons License – A certain type of license does exist that allows you to use a creative work free of charge as long as you allow the original creator to be credited with the work. By searching http://search.creativecommons.org you can find music, photos, videos and other types of media that can be used legally under a Creative Commons license. (It’s also important to understand that Creative Commons licensed works are only to be used for non-commercial use.) 
  • Obtain permission – If you are still focused on using something that is created by someone else, it’s best to get permission. Contact the creator of the content directly or through their representation, if necessary, for larger entities or organizations.

If you’re trying to get permission from an acquaintance, a simple verbal “okay” or written approval is usually fairly easy to obtain. However, if you’re attempting to get permission from a music label, publisher or film studio, the process will be quite lengthy and will most likely be incredibly expensive.

With the large amount of material available online, you may think that you can use unauthorized content on your streaming channel without being noticed, but this is simply not the case. In the age of the Internet, your content is easily accessible with a simple search and copyright holders actively patrol the Internet specifically looking for those who are infringing on their copyright.

Steps to Take If You Receive a DMCA Notice 

Keep in mind that we’re not providing legal advice here and that you should always consult a licensed attorney for concrete advice on how to proceed when faced with a DMCA notice.

When you receive a DMCA notice, you usually have two options:

  • Simple comply with the DMCA notice and remove the copyrighted content from your channel, or…
  • Send a counter notice to the other party indicating that you believe you have the right to legally use the content in question.

If you send a counter notice, there is an extremely high likelihood that it could result in further legal action, so it’s important to consult an attorney prior to doing so.

Create Your Own Content With TikiLIVE 

When you’re streaming content on your TikiLIVE channel, use your imagination to create original content that will never result in suspicion from other copyright holders. Creating original content may be more difficult than simply copying someone else’s content, but it’s far more rewarding when you see and are praised for the final product. For more information about TikiLIVE’s suite of products, feel free to contact our team today by phone at 305-289-4557 or through our online contact form.

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