The Man Who Livestreamed a Birth on Facebook Has Lost Bid to Sue News for Copyright

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When you livestream something and news organizations cover your story, using the images you uploaded in their report, is it copyright infringement?

It is not, according to a recent ruling against a man who in 2016 livestreamed the birth of his child to Facebook (note: he did not intend for the livestream to be public, but attempted to make it viewable only to friends and family members). When many news organizations covered the story, using parts of the video feed to illustrate (for example, ABC used 22 seconds of the 45 minute stream), Kali Kanongataa sued for copyright infringement.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan agreed with the defense that the purpose of the Fair Use defense was to allow portions of works to be used for commentary and news reports. If copyright suits like Kanongataa’s succeeded, news in the¬†current era of social media sharing of digital images would suffer because it wouldn’t be covered as well.