Your personal Facebook Live videos can legally end up on TV

By Kitty Knowles 17 February 2017

Man streams son's birth on Facebook Live - sees footage on Good Morning America.

Think you control what happens to your personal videos? Think again.

One father who live-streamed his partner’s labour on Facebook last May, has found out the hard way: he saw the birth of his son replayed on Good Morning America and numerous other media outlets.

This week, he lost a high-profile court battle against the broadcasters.

If you don’t want this to happen to you, don’t make the same mistakes.

Personal equals private?

It’s one thing wanting to share a life-changing moment with friends and family. But most would understand why Kali Kanongataa didn’t want his child’s birth aired for all to see.

That hasn’t however, stopped a US judge throwing out Kanongataa’s copyright infringement case against the likes of the ABC, Yahoo, and Rodale, the company that publishes Women’s Health.

Apparently, the father-to-be realised his film was streaming publicly on social media about 30 minutes into recording, but decided to leave it that way.

About 120,000 people worldwide tuned in.

Media outlets broadcasting the clips have defended doing so on the terms of “fair use.”

What does this mean to you?

Legally, “fair use” means that when pictures or videos are the focus of a major news story, selected footage can be used.

And, given that it’s believed to have been the first time Facebook Live had been used to broadcast a birth, ABC deemed the affair a “socially significant phenomenon.”

This week’s ruling can therefore be taken to mean that if you use social media in a newsworthy way, it could be seized and shared, however personal the content.

We’ve already witnessed proposals, operations and torture on social media. But consider the number of ‘firsts’ that have yet to take place on Facebook, or on other video sharing platforms like Instagram or Snapchat.

Has someone recorded their granny’s final moments as they pass away yet? Has anyone received the all-clear from cancer on Facebook Live?

The only real way to stop these from ‘going viral’ is not to stream them in the first place.

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