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If You Post a Concert Phone Video Online, Will You Get Sued?

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Copyrights, Intellectual Property

A quick internet search of “concert phone video” proves not only that a significant number of people do, in fact, post these types of videos – but also that the act of recording of music concerts is a sort of cottage industry. Lots of people post tips on how to do it, which phones are best, and so on. However, there are also quite a few videos ranting against people taking phone videos.

So, is it a good idea or a bad idea? Are people allowed to take videos at live concerts and post them online, or is it something that will get you in trouble?

The answer is complicated, as Eric Guillermo Madroñal Garrone, the founder and owner of the YouTube channel MADforliveMUSIC, discovered when reggaeton artist Bad Bunny first sent him a cease and desist letter. Later, the artist sued the concert goer for posting videos that featured full Bad Bunny songs.

First Things First: Why Did Bad Bunny Sue?

As mentioned above, finding concert phone videos online is not a rare occurrence. People can and do post these types of videos all the time. What typically happens is: the copyright holder will send a cease and desist letter to the owner of the account – or complain to the video hosting site (in this case, YouTube) – and the offending video will be removed. Alternatively, some artists are fine with fans posting videos, seeing it as a type of free advertising.

So why did Bad Bunny decide to go after Mr. Garrone?

What tends to frustrate artists and other copyright holders is when people post full songs online. They see this as serious infringement, especially if the accounts in question monetize the content they offer.

While it is not clear if Mr. Garrone’s channel is monetized, Bad Bunny’s suit complained that Garrone posted “substantial portions” of his concert – a concert that marked the beginning of an ongoing tour. Knowing that, it is easy to understand Bad Bunny’s frustration. If people can simply see his show online for free, why would they pay to attend?

Still, that is not the reason this situation escalated to a lawsuit. Remember that their first point of contact was a cease and desist letter. Typically, that is where these things end. The party who posted the video removes it, and the copyright holder moves on.

Bad Bunny sued because Mr. Garrone not only failed to comply, but responded with a formal counternotice arguing that he was within his rights to post the video, because it was a “newsworthy event of high public interest.”

At that point, Bad Bunny’s only options were to file a lawsuit or give up and allow the videos to remain live.

Is Posting Videos of Concerts Online Legal? The Answer is Complicated

Who is in the right in this situation? 

That is a complex question that will have to be answered in court, though early evidence seems to be in Bad Bunny’s favor. This could be truly bad for Mr. Garrone, because Bad Bunny’s lawsuit is demanding $150,000 for each of his songs posted to the YouTube channel in question.

Moreover, even if the lawsuit fails, Mr. Garrone is already suffering consequences because YouTube terminated his account after getting “multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement.” As their spokesperson said, “Per our policies, channels that receive three strikes within a 90-day period are subject to termination.”

It is unclear whether his account could be reinstated if Mr. Garrone wins the suit.

So, Could You Get Sued for Posting a Concert Video?

Short answer: probably not. Remember, this only escalated because Mr. Garrone refused to take the videos down.

Still, is that a chance you really want to take? While the idea of sharing your concert-going experiences with the world may be enticing, some things are better kept to yourself.


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