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Facebook Threatens To Delete Band Accounts For Livestreaming Shows with Copyrighted Content

A set of ambiguous new rules are leaving bands scrambling.

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Photo: JD Lasica

A new set of guidelines released by Facebook this week have left bands confused as to what can happen if they choose to engage with their audience on the platform. Facebook will be clamping down on accounts that use copyrighted music in their live streams – and it may result in your account being deleted.

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It's all part of Facebook's rather ambiguous new music guidelines, where the service warns "You may not use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience." Their products being Facebook and Instagram.

You have to make sure your band's page has the appropriate licenses to stream your music. "People use our Products to share content with their family and friends. Keep in mind you remain solely responsible for the content that you post, including any music that features in that content. Nothing in these terms constitutes any authorization by us with respect to any use of music on any of our Products." Facebook warns "Use of music for commercial or non-personal purposes in particular is prohibited unless you have obtained appropriate licenses."

That means, yes, there is a chance where if you do a stream playing your own songs, but you're not declared the licensee of the music, Facebook may take action against your page.

If you happen to do a livestream, you may want to hold off on that "Raining Blood" cover. Facebook notes "If you post content that contains music owned by someone else, your content may be blocked, or may be reviewed by the applicable rights owner and removed if your use of that music is not properly authorized."

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In an expanded message, Facebook notes:

Our partnerships with rights holders have brought people together around music on our platforms. As part of our licensing agreements, there are limitations around the amount of recorded music that can be included in Live broadcasts or videos. While the specifics of our licensing agreements are confidential, today we’re sharing some general guidelines to help you plan your videos better:
– Music in stories and traditional live music performances (e.g., filming an artist or band performing live) are permitted.
– The greater the number of full-length recorded tracks in a video, the more likely it may be limited (more below on what we mean by “limited”).
– Shorter clips of music are recommended.
– There should always be a visual component to your video; recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video.

They also warn that there may be worldwide rights issues, stating "You may not be able to post or access videos containing music in every country of the world. We want you to be able to share videos with your family and friends wherever they are, but any music in your video, if it is allowed at all, may not be available in all countries of the world."

Facebook does make it clear that if you are streaming copyrighted material, they will offer a warning first telling you to stop playing the song before the stream gets deleted.

These rules go into effect October 1st.

Facebook Threatens To Delete Band Accounts For Livestreaming Shows with Copyrighted Content

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