With the new football season beginning, the Premier League has warned against the sharing of goal videos on social media sites such as Vine stating that it is an illegal infringement of copyright.
The World Cup saw massive goal sharing online and the League is clearly anxious to protect the intellectual property rights of the television companies who have paid them significant sums to capture the live footage and own the copyright
All of this will sound familiar to content owners right across the sports & entertainment spectrum. All have the same question: what to do about social media?
Carrot or stick?
In cases where there are sites illegally sharing large amounts of content you can attempt to bring a legal action against them, although often they operate from overseas, complicating matters.
Additionally, as a quick Google search will show, as one illegal site closes, another opens in its place. Users simply move and the problem carries on as before.
This actually goes to the heart of the matter: if the individual users are persuaded to download the content in a fair and legal way, then the problem might go away.
Winning hearts, minds and the argument
When the music industry began sending users threatening letters about illegal downloading, it only generated negative publicity, with questions about the legalities of shutting down a person’s web access, stories of people ‘wrongly accused’ and cries of ‘fat cat’ rock stars and record execs ‘picking on the little guy’.
The industry quickly learnt its lesson and has moved to a far more successful strategy, of educating users, gaining their support and providing legal alternatives, priced to sell.
Five things that work…
Use the law where you can: for example to maximise revenues from multi-platform publishing deals, protect your brand or pursue infringers of your rights where this is practical.
Build relationships: People are more likely to pay for your material if they feel involved in what you do. Artists have been pleasantly surprised when they’ve asked followers to pay what they think their work is worth.
Give viable, legal alternatives: many people will make the honest choice if they can access content at a price they believe is affordable and fair. Create this option for them.
View the web as an opportunity: it is a fantastic channel for distributing content and forging close links with your audience.
State your case: illegal content sharing hurts lesser known artists as well as established acts. “Support the band – buy the badge or CD” is a compelling message to people who enjoy what you do.
If you would like to explore the best way to protect your intellectual property and maximise your earnings from it, please contact Aurelia Butler-Ball in the Music, Media & Entertainment team.
- Artists, from individual musicians and bands, to DJs and composers with recording, publishing and management agreements.
- Managers and Agents with their client agreements.
- Record Labels, Music Publishing Companies and Distributors with the entire spectrum of legal obligations and protection: production, distribution and sample clearance agreements, digital and DVD rights, synchronisation and compilation licensing, brand protection and copyright.
- Event Managers and Promoters with tour and merchandising agreements.
Media and Digital
- Content Aggregators and Owners on publishing agreements, digital content licensing and related rights.
- Online Digital Providers, Retailers and Mobile Operators on compliance with internet and data protection laws.
- Media Broadcasters and Public Figures on matters of defamation and privacy
- Publishers on clearance of copyright materials for print publication.
TV and Film Entertainment
- Producers and Production Companies on director, producer, production, location and cast & crew agreements.
- Artists and Broadcasters on talent deals including music for television.
- Distributors on broadcast licensing, merchandising rights, clearances and acquisition.