We’ve seen a significant increase in the popularity of live streaming in recent times. We’ve had social media platforms extend their services beyond social networking to include live streaming, be it Facebook Live, Twitter Live, Snapchat, Instagram Live, or Twitch. It’s safe to bet that live streaming has now gone mainstream. But this doesn’t come without any perils. There are inherent risks associated with live streaming; we’re here to pen down a few.
© Copyright Issues
This one’s a clear strike. If you’re streaming copyrighted content, you’re destined for drastic consequences. Streaming someone else’s content and portraying it as your own is not advised and can lead to serious repercussions. For instance, if you’re live streaming copies of films, TV shows, or premium sports content without the copyright owner’s permission, you’re in for illegal streaming. Interestingly, it also works the other way around. If you’re a content creator worried about your content’s copyrights and originality, be careful when you live stream. Be it a music piece, your latest creative idea, or an innovative product reveal, copy intellectual property rights take the lead.
💡 Pro-Tip: If you're not streaming your own original content, choose content from the public domain. Search from the creative commons license and make sure you abide by the copyright law.
🔐 Privacy Concerns
You also got to be careful when live streaming content containing sensitive information. You might be live streaming for a commercial purpose, for example marketing your brand. In this case, you can be held accountable for patents and copyrights, trademarks, and trade secret restrictions, as well as privacy laws and publicity rights. You may be questioned for loitering or trespassing too. Here’s when you’ve got to be careful. If you don’t own the rights to what you’re streaming, it shouldn’t be in your live stream.
In a similar situation, you might be using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to unlock private content which might not be otherwise specifically available in your country. For example, some US TV shows are never aired in India. So, if you plan to live stream these shows with a pay-per-view offering, this also falls under illegal streaming. Additionally, streaming such content can expose younger audiences to age-inappropriate content, which will again cause legal repercussions for you as a live streamer.
📌 Location Issues
While live streaming allows you to share your content across geographical borders, it also allows the system to track you down to your exact location. Live streaming platforms can even pinpoint the street from which you’re streaming the specific footage. This could be particularly devastating amid crises. Whether you’re live streaming for commercial purposes or personal reasons, you must have the right to the property you’re live streaming from. You must have the owner's permission if you don't own it. You must have a license to stream and record for commercial live streaming.
💡 Pro-Tip: Make sure you turn off your location-sharing services while live streaming to ensure this information is not made publicly available.
🗣️ Harassment and Bullying
Cyberstalking, harassment, and bullying all run rampant in the digital arena, and live streaming is no exception. While all streaming platforms say that shared content is verified and checked, several reported cases of inappropriate behavior, abuse, and cyberbullying are still reported. Even when these platforms prohibit explicit, graphic content, we know it still exists. And even when they say that such content, if reported, will be immediately taken down, they clearly can’t keep up with the high volume of content.
💡 Pro-Tip: Have a dedicated team member/moderator handle all the comments on your live streams. Make sure to delete the offensive comments immediately.
⛔ Unauthorized Live Streaming Service Provider
‘Who is your live streaming provider?’ is perhaps the most important question you’ve got to consider before you live stream your content. What streaming options does it offer? Is it authorized to provide these live streaming services? Does it comply with the state policies and legal requirements? All these questions must be vetted carefully before selecting your live streaming solution. Moreover, your live streaming service provider must also be responsible for keeping your content safe and secure. Your personally identifiable information should not be made public without your consent at any cost.
With live streaming come vulnerabilities, both for the content creators and the consumers. While recorded videos can be taken down if they violate content rules, it’s often less containable when acts unfold in real time over the internet. As a streamer, you’re responsible for the content that appears on your channel, whether you’re creating the content yourself or sharing anyone else’s content.
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