Royalties In Live Media Streams

by zchod on September 20, 2013

The new wave of media has paved the way for more on-demand entertainment. Live streams of shows, new music, and other publications have become a model for quick press and increased reach. While there are many things that artists and developers have to gain from streaming their content on the internet, sometimes there are legal issues initially unseen. Recently there has been a reported cases of dispute on who exactly owns the rights something when being streamed. Specifically in live entertainment settings.

Internet streaming has made reaching forms of entertainment far more accessible. Some venues and concert hosting environments have decided that a better way to promote their business is to stream live performances from the artists using their stage that night. Concerts all over the world are now able to be viewed from a computer screen for those who are unable to attend. Some of the bigger concerts are commonly replayed on music and media channels on television such as VH1 or Paladium Network. Large broadcasts like this are usually cleared with rights and broadcasting networks and artist permissions. However there are smaller shows and settings that are attempting the same form of promotion but seeing a bit more complication in the process. The issue is that of artist representatives and music labels claim to own the rights to the music of the bands they have signed and sueing venues who broadcast the media.

In Pembroke Pines, Florida, a very well known live performance venue called ‘The Talent Farm’ is being sued for royalties coupling over $12,000 to cover the last several years of royalties for the venue allowing performance and streams of artists’ music. This comes a shock to the club owner seeing as one would assume the music being performed openly to the public becomes free-media, and more importantly since The Talent Farm owns the rights to their domain and streaming source. However companies like Broadcast Music Incorporated, ASCAP, and others, are cracking down on the royalty money they propose they are owed since clubs around the country are streaming their artist’s media for promotion and building a market. Here is where the legal battle can get confusing; understanding who owns the right to a media broadcast of a live performance.

The royalties in situations like this are rightfully owed to the broadcasting companies and media owners. It is up to club owners to previously clear with the companies the rights to stream the artist’s performance. This is the fact with nearly any industry in which a form of content or media (in this case music) is created and distributed through a larger company. When contracts are signed, rights and royalties are established. This creates a copyright owner, and any replication or distribution of said media without consent becomes a breach of contract. Although it may seem unfair at times it is ruled by documents.

Royalties are the guidelines of contracts in the entertainment industry. That ‘business’ of music law is the snake to the apple of eden that is live entertainment. For media law purposes, be sure to always be aware of the forms of entertainment that you’re doing work with and understand what copyrights are in play. Just remember: C.R.E.A.M. Contracts Rule Everything Around Music.

YouTube can be a good platform to earn royalties, depending on the type of content you produce. While YouTube is primarily known as a video-sharing platform, it also has a large library of music and hosts content created by musicians, record labels, and publishers. If you are a musician or artist, you can earn royalties on YouTube by monetizing your music videos through YouTube’s partner program. One thing that artist can try is to buy youtube views on this site, to reach a bigger audience.

Zach C. – blogger for IP Blawg and current firm news blogger for Colley & Colley Law in Texas.

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