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Old May 8th, 2012, 02:00 PM   #1
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Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

Hello,
Let me start this off by stating I will be meeting with a Business Attorney later this week to get some more info from the legal side. I would like to find out if any of my "Video Folks" have had experience with, or can answer any of my questions. I plan on broadcasting some Live Events from various locations, public and private, which will be shown live on my website, as well as theirs. Some events will include: Weddings, Funerals, Grand Openings, Press Conferences (Political, I will be approved to be there, as well as all events I will attend), just to name a few. My questions:

1. I am not considered a "News Station". I am a Video Production Company. It is my understanding those News Stations can go to any "Public Event" and broadcast live. Is that the case? If so, what would it take for my company to fall under that catagory?

2. If I am hired by a Congressman, for example, to film a Fundraiser and broadcast live, am I allowed to film whoever is attending? There is no way I can get releases from all guests, so would signs posted around room that state "You May be Filmed Live for Broadcast" be sufficient to let guests know? Or maybe loudspeaker announcments a couple different times?

3. Do any of you have insurance to protect yourselves for this type of work? If so, please let me know what type of coverage, and where to get.

4. As I stated earlier, I will be hired/approved by whoever to be at event. But let's say I just decide to cover a fire on a city street. Do I have the rights to broadcast that live?

5. Please let me know if there is anything else you have run into that have caused an issue, or any other questions I need to ask attorney.

My goal is just to cover all potential issues that could arise from Broadcasting a Live Video Stream on websites.

Thanks.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

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My goal is just to cover all potential issues that could arise from Broadcasting a Live Video Stream on websites.
I'm also interested in streaming live on websites and also to a Roku channel. I would be very interested to hear what answers your attorney and others have to these questions.

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Old May 9th, 2012, 08:19 AM   #3
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

I am not an IP attorney but from experience here are some situations to watch out for:

Minor children
Law enforcement (coverage could endanger undercover or other)
Artistic, architectural or other protected IP (wall art, corporate logos on shirts)
Gambling (where special permission is needed in casinos etc.)
Any sporting activity where the rights are already tied up

I think you have to monitor for these and more in your feed and have video on demand files to roll if the live content puts you or others at risk. There are books about this complex subject and you may want to take a look at these. I have to wonder if a "business attorney" is going to be conversant with the intellectual property side of things to the degree required here.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 09:35 AM   #4
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

Add to the caveats, proper performance licensing and royalty payments on any music that is performed as part of the event such as music played at a wedding.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 11:44 AM   #5
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

I'm interested to what you find our Rick. I hope you post your findings here.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

Great responses, keep em coming. I'm meeting with attorney Friday morning, and wanna make sure I get my money's worth by covering everything I can.

I went with a "Business Lawyer" because it was the best I could find in my area. He stated he has some related experience with what I need answered, although not directly with "Live Video Streaming". He said he would have to do some research after we meet, which will obviously up the price, but I may not have a choice. He already did lookup some stuff, and found numerous other related cases in the past that can be used to develop some sort of direction for me.

I will also be asking him about covering myself via contract if I get stuck at a location and all the sudden the 4g connection craps out (if wifi not available). My clients would be paying for a "Live Stream", and if it fails, what happens with me getting paid? I want to add that to a signed contract I will get paid even if signal is lost (I will be recording entire event and provide DVD).
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Old May 9th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #7
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

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My clients would be paying for a "Live Stream", and if it fails, what happens with me getting paid?
In case the 4G network goes down, I think insurance should cover your expenses and the client should not have to pay for live streaming that didn't happen. I was thinking to use two independent contracts: one for the video shoot and the other for the live streaming. It would be interesting to see how these could be combined into one contract. By the way, how reliable and how costly is a 4G uplink? What carrier are you using?
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Old May 9th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #8
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

Eric - just called my Insurance Company I already have a basic liability policy with. They stated that I am only covered for "Bodily Injury" and "Property Damage". The example I gave of insurance covering my expenses in case Live Stream fails won't fly, according to this agent. And he added that no insurance company would cover me for that. So if customer refuses to pay me, small claims court is option. That is if client signed contract I make which requires them to pay even if stream does not happen.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 03:22 PM   #9
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

How serious is the client? This sounds like a tough sell unless they really need it. You are taking a lot of risks in an area that clients might just think "would be great to have...".
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Old May 9th, 2012, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

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Eric - just called my Insurance Company I already have a basic liability policy with. They stated that I am only covered for "Bodily Injury" and "Property Damage". The example I gave of insurance covering my expenses in case Live Stream fails won't fly, according to this agent. And he added that no insurance company would cover me for that. So if customer refuses to pay me, small claims court is option. That is if client signed contract I make which requires them to pay even if stream does not happen.
Don't forget too that the "property damage" coverage is for damage you cause to someone else' property through your activity, not damage or loss to your proper while you're on location. For that protection you need Inland Marine coverage (believe it or not, that's what it's called). As far as loss from failure of the feed, etc, you MIGHT be able to get it included under an Errors and Omissions policy - don't know but it never hurts to ask. You certainly wouldn't want to bill your clients for services you don't actually deliver, regardless of the reason, unless it's the client's fault, but there's nothing wrong with trying to find some insurance that would cover you for those lost billings or for losses resulting from a client suing you for failure to deliver.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

Tim - i assume the clients will be serious and want the service. I have had 5 requests in the last 3 months to broadcast various different live events, without any marketing on my end. They contacted me, which got me thinking about adding the service. There does seem to be a lot of risks, so just trying to figure out cons before diving in.

Steve - i did ask agent about EO option, and they offer EO, but very small amount, and live stream failure wouldn't qualify. Other companies, he had no idea. Maybe expecting to get paid for 4g failure is not an option, i could price it out as a line item in the whole video production, and not charge for it, but still get paid for the shooting footage provided on dvd.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 11:21 AM   #12
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

I did not know this was for the future. I was coming from the point of view that once you tell them what it will really cost (by eliminating your personal risks), it will be a tough sell.

Internet & live broadcasting are at risk of the clients having a "no rules" opinion of the space. Normal folks do not know why television broadcasting is so expensive. You are wise to check for all of the pitfalls and costs because in the event of an issue, you will take the heat.

Also, while connection speeds seems to be going up, the companies are limiting bandwidth behind the scenes. Upload speed is still forgotten about compared to download and from my research, 500k is about the reliable limit for your encoding bitrate. Not exactly exciting.

I had a company talking to me about shooting live events for streaming and when I really broke it down, the situation just did not fly due to technical and financial hurdles.

Hope it works out for you and please report back with your progress.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 12:32 PM   #13
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

Portable systems that these folks lease short term will allow you to combine several cell data streams for (more) reliable live web casts. Of course you need *some* kind of signal from a couple of providers.

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Old May 13th, 2012, 11:04 AM   #14
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

I do a fair bit of live streaming. It's usually political or social issue oriented.

I won't speak about the legal aspects but can tell you what you might provide. With live streaming there's always cost vs risk on the tech side.

The considerations are:
public vs isolated wifi
dedicated wired ethernet
4G or 3G/4G Bonded device.

Most important (mission critical) is to do a site visit for both speed and packet lose tests. Also any event at a public venue may have significantly worse conditions then during testing so you need to consider that.

You need to discuss acceptable risk with the client and, based on their decision, they may have to shoulder some of the risk. If you inform them of risks due to poor conditions and they don't want to pay for the rental of a bonded device, the entire financial burden (not getting paid at all) shouldn't fall on you. Key is that they are informed of the risk and agree to accept some of it. It may be a base charge for showing up for example.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #15
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Re: Legal Issues When Streaming Live Video

I did meet with the attorney on Friday and got some more info. While he could not answer my specific questions, like what if I shoot someone that doesnt wanna be shot, what happens? He did write everything down that i needed to know, and quoted me a price to do further research.

He knows where to look, and is up on some related law. Not sure where else to go to find another attorney at this point. He quoted me a price of $1200, which would include the initial consultation, research to be used to word my contract and suggest how to handle the copyright, invasion of privacy, minors, exclusion if in public area, etc. It will also include a provision in case the connection fails, they are aware ahead of time. Not sure how i would handle what to charge, gotta think about that more. Any opinions on if that sounds like a fair price to pay? Never have used an attorney, so have no clue.

He did have an opinion on worst case scenarios of me being sued if i cover someone that didnt wanna be broadcast live. Of course they can sue, but once the guy that is suing gets an attorney, the attorney will see that there isnt much chance i damaged them enough for a case, but that was just his opinion. I am by no means rich, not even close, really dont have many assets, personally or my biz, which will deter someone going after me.
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