In an age where online image sharing is more prevalent than ever thanks to the abundance of different social media platforms, the question of who has a right to use what photographs or creative visuals may appear increasingly complicated, but the truth is that similar copyright principles that apply to a physical photograph or artistic image also apply to pictures shared over social media. Continue reading for a discussion of social media platforms’ rights to the images posted by their users and for an explanation of Canadian copyright in images.Continue reading
The Federal Court recently released its decision in Winkler v. Hendley, 2021 FC 498 [Winkler] in which it found that an author who claims to have published a non-fictional work cannot later claim that the work was in fact fictional in order to get around the principle that facts are not protected by copyright law.Continue reading
In Part I of this blog post, I explained what a reaction video is, how it could constitute copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, and how the possible legal exception for “criticism” or “review” might apply to a reaction video. In Part II of this blog post, I further analyze this exception through both a Canadian and U.S. legal lens (no pun intended).Continue reading
A few months ago, my colleague Jay Kerr-Wilson published this blog post on the intellectual property issues surrounding the phenomenon of “Let’s Play” videos, a genre of online videos where an individual records and broadcasts themselves playing a video game. The individual might film themselves or just provide audio commentary, but in either scenario their own content is layered on top of the game that they are playing. The blog post discusses how this video genre could be considered copyright infringement with respect to the video game being played, as well as why generally we are not seeing infringement cases in this area because of the symbiotic relationship between content creators and video game publishers.Continue reading
Just before New Year, a controversial piece of US legislation tucked into a COVID-19 relief package had people who stream video gameplay online concerned that their livelihood was about to be criminalized. While a careful reading of the legislation reveals that the initial reaction was unwarranted and perhaps overblown, it does raise some interesting questions about the legal status of “streamers” and the interplay between game publishers and online video content creators.
Streamers use internet platforms such as Twitch and YouTube to broadcast videos of themselves to their fans and followers. Some of the most popular streamers will play videos games on camera during the streams. These gameplay videos are sometimes referred to a “Let’s Play” videos (as in, “Let’s Play Animal Crossing” or “Let’s Play Assassin’s Creed”). They earn revenue by offering subscriptions, accepting donations from fans, promoting products and services, and selling merchandise. The videos are live streamed so viewers can interact in real time with the streamer using a chat function. Many of the videos are also stored and can be viewed on-demand later.Continue reading