Crazy, right? A guy like me who teaches people how to live stream, writing a blog post telling people why they should NOT use Facebook Live and YouTube Live?
Whether this blog post applies to you or not depends heavily on WHAT you want to stream. The wrong kind of content will make you angry and frustrated… and might even cost you money.
Beware of Music You Don’t Own
Let’s cut to the chase – the problem here is not with Google (which owns YouTube) or Facebook… the problem is with streaming music you don’t own.
It’s called copyright infringement.
Using it in your video (without paying for the right to do so) is technically a crime. To claim the music as your own and make profit from it, without sharing the profits with the artist and the music label, can end up costing you in fines, lawyer fees, and jail time.
Why Avoid Facebook and YouTube Only?
Facebook and YouTube have spent a lot of their own money and time developing software that “listens” to our videos, both live and on-demand. The software is listening to see if our videos contain music and, if so, flagging the videos. Examples:
- A Facebook user streamed live video of a fireworks show at Disney World. Disney music blaring in the background. Video removed afterwards by Facebook. (screen capture 1, screen capture 2, screen capture 3, screen capture 4)
- YouTube star Michelle Phan sued for copyright infringement over music in her videos
- YouTube streamer goes off after two separate companies claim copyright infringement on the same song (an instrumental by Beethoven)
What’s frustrating is the appeals process – you’re guilty until you prove your innocence, and the process of doing that can take days or weeks.
Why Not Other Platforms?
I’m often asked why these rules don’t apply to other platforms, such as Periscope? Technically, they do. Copyright laws apply to all platforms, but other platforms do not have automated mechanisms in place to detect potential copyright infringements.
The Best Advice
To avoid getting your videos and/or channels shut down, only stream what you own or obtain internet streaming rights to the music prior to the event from the artist or music label.
If you cannot avoid streaming music you don’t own, such as an event where copyright music is played in the background, consider these options:
1) remove as much crowd noise as possible to minimize ambient sounds and music
2) use your own microphones to control the audio mix
3) stream the event on a private streaming platform (such as uStream, Wowza, Dacast, etc.)
Be original and be careful.