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Periscope, Meerkat and the Copyright Laws

May 7, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Technology is a great thing. It evolves so quickly, that most of us can’t keep up. Even those of us that are in the tech industry. Recently a few new apps have come out that allow you to live stream video from your smartphone with the tap of a button. There’s Meerkat, and then Twitter’s Periscope. Both of these were exclusive to the iPhone until late last week when Meerkat finally launched on Android – Periscope is on its way according to Twitter.

This past weekend, you might have heard of a little fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Okay, it was a pretty big fight, and most that paid to watch it on Pay-Per-View paid around $89-100. Not a cheap fight at all. However, many got to see it for free thanks to apps like Meerkat and Periscope. This is where Copyright laws come in to play. This isn’t the first time either, for either of these apps. Copyright laws protect things like this boxing match, and all kinds of other TV shows and Movies. HBO said that it sent take down requests to Twitter for Periscope streams of the Game of Thrones. And Twitter stated they got 66 takedown notices for the boxing match this past weekend. Which, Twitter says, they responded to each one within minutes.

For the most part these live-streaming apps don’t really pose a threat to live TV or entertainment. But companies aren’t going to be happy to see them live-streaming events like #MayPac. Obviously, because they want their money. We do already have things like the DCMA in place though, for take down requests. So this really shouldn’t be an issue going forward for Periscope or Meerkat. However, if it is. You can bet that it’ll be as tight as YouTube is with copyright. YouTube is so tight that if you play 5 seconds of a song you’ll get hit with a copyright notice. It’s completely understandable as to why.

Periscope and Meerkat aren’t really a threat to live TV because of video quality as well. While yes a lot of these phones can do 4K video, that doesn’t mean the app can. And further more, holding your phone up to a TV to live stream a show or movie, you won’t be getting near that quality of video.