23+ Legal and Business Livestreaming Tips To Keep You Safe on Social Media!

Earlier today I joined Jennifer Quinn, author of “Leverage Livestreaming To Build Your Brand,” and we engaged in a rapid-fire back and forth covering 23+ legal tips to help livestreamers safely do business on the social media platforms.

Click here or on the image below to watch the video. Enjoy and reach out with any questions!


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How To Legally Use Other People’s Copyrighted Material

Despite the title, it’s essential for me to start off this post with the same advice I give my clients. It’s as follows:

If you didn’t create the content you want to use, don’t use it without the express written permission of the creator or legal rights holder.

Also let me say, right off the bat, that while I am a California lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. No legal advice is given in this post. What I am doing in this post is sharing a legal concept that you might find useful. Please do us both a favor and use these steps to find and contact a lawyer in your state with any questions.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, there are times when you may be able to legally use someone else’s copyrighted material (pictures, videos, parts of blog posts) without their permission. This happens when your use falls under what is called the Fair Use Doctrine.

Fair Use Doctrine

The Fair Use Doctrine (FUD) is a United States law that allows for the limited use of copyrighted material. Under the FUD, you do not first need to get the permission of the copyright holder before using the content.

The FUD exists to try and balance the interests of the public use of creative works with the legal rights of creators and copyright holders. Several examples of content that falls under the FUD includes (1) news reporting, (2) commentary, (3) teaching, (4) criticism, (5) parody, (6) research, (7) scholarship and (8) search engines.

There is a four-factor test that is used to determine what falls under the FUD. This includes the purpose and character of the use mentioned above. The test also involves whether (1) the use is for commercial purposes or nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The courts also take several other facts into consideration when deciding if the FUD applies to certain content, such as acknowledging the creator’s name in the content use. While the FUD allows you to use copyrighted protected content, this can be a complicated area to navigate. My recommendation is to always check with a lawyer in your state in you are relying on the FUD when sharing someone else’s content. He or she can review your specific intended use and provide you with appropriate legal advice.

I’m sharing the recommendation to consult with a lawyer because, if a claim is brought against you for copyright infringement, it is your burden to prove that your use of the content falls under the FUD. Because claims can take years to litigate, the time and expense to you can be overwhelming, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. This is why you need to be aware of all the above and conduct yourself accordingly.

Conclusion

If you feel the need to use someone else’s copyrighted content, always try to do so only after getting permission from the owner of the content. Although the FUD is here to protect you, what I’ve noticed over the years is that the FUD is a grey area of law that should be avoided when at all possible.

Before dipping your toe into the FUD water, make sure your lawyer has reviewed what you want to use and has told you it’s safe to jump in headfirst.

Sexual Harassment on Social Media and the #MeToo Movement

Over the past three years, I’ve had about a dozen people reach out to me about being sexually harassed relating to their social media businesses and platforms. With more and more brave victims coming out to share their #metoo experience, I thought this post needed to get written.

Social media conference attendees have contacted me about after hours “one on one” business meetings turning into sexual assaults. Two spouses have reached out for help in protecting their rights after finding out their husbands went “Weinstein” at a conference. On the other side of the coin, I’ve also had multiple people reach out who were wrongfully accused of sexual harassment and assault at social media conferences.

While names like Weinstein, Franken, Moore, Trump, Louis C.K., Ratner, and Spacey (just to mention a few), are what most people hear each night on the evening news, I believe we have similar problems in our social media communities. Although I haven’t heard about anyone I know on social media being banned from the local mall, I am seeing some bad dudes doing bad things to women. I have a feeling you have too.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a big deal. I also think it’s a problem for many people doing business on social media. Although the offline laws do not apply in the same way to this online misconduct, I don’t think it’s difficult to notice the similarities in the end result. Because I’ve always thought that conversation is good, I want to start a conversation and encourage more dialog with you about sexual harassment on our social media business platforms.

One more thing. Almost all of the incoming calls I get concerning sexual harassment involve female victims. As such, I’m writing this post with them in mind. Please keep in mind that I understand that anyone can become a victim when it comes to sexual harassment.

Also, please note that while I am a California lawyer, I’m not your lawyer. No legal advice is being given in this post. What I am trying to do is give you something to think about. I want to give you some ideas and tools to be part of the solution and to help fix this problem.

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Legal Tips for Airbnb Hosts

There are more than 150M Airbnb users around the world. They are housed by 640,000 hosts who share opportunities on 4M listings. The company value of Airbnb is around $31B.

Airbnb is a big business and growing more each day. Regardless of whether you’re already a host or thinking about getting started, there are a few things you need to know about liability insurance coverage.

Initial Questions

Understanding that the average income from an Airbnb rental is about $14K/year, you may want to think twice before dipping your toe into the Airbnb sandbox. When weighing the risks of liability exposure with the benefits of generating income, here are some things you should keep in mind.

Several initial questions include:

What will happen if someone is seriously injured on your Airbnb property?

What if a criminal act takes place on your Airbnb property?

The answers to these questions and more are shared below.

What You Need to Know About Host Protection Insurance (HPI)

Airbnb now offers hosts (you) insurance. It wasn’t always that way.

In the United States, you are covered with up to $1M in liability insurance if a guest is injured on your Airbnb property. This may also cover accidental loss to surrounding property (a guest lets the bathtub overflow causing water damage to the wood floors in the apartment below). The HPI is applicable in the US but also applies to a Airbnb properties in several other countries.

What’s Not Covered and Exclusions

Often the Airbnb HPI coverage will not cover losses caused or experienced by people who arrive early or depart late. Your own personal liability insurance will apply, if you have it.

Pro Tip: Check with your insurance provider to make sure your homeowner or umbrella coverage will cover you if the Airbnb does not.

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