Is it really this easy to prevent piracy via Facebook Live?

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As first reported by Torrentfreak on Friday, a university student in a movie theater in Chicago had a police report filed against him last week for streaming new Indian rom-com A AA via Facebook Live. What was unusual about this incident was not someone being caught illegally filming in a cinema, but how the person was caught: the film’s production company in India has a piracy monitoring team scouring the web for illegal uploads of the film.

According to the film's distributor, the antipiracy team spotted the Facebook Live stream and from half a world away, informed the cinema and the person was found in real-time, Fortune reports. Next time, the student will surely make sure his Facebook Live stream is set to broadcast to friends only.

Add that to the list of ill-advised broadcasts people have made via Facebook Live, from teen-threesomes to a child's birth. While live-streaming tools like Periscope and Meerkat have been around for some time now, Facebook Live has mainstreamed the practice in a way only possible for a platform with an existing user base of over one billion people. And it means that it's going to be more challenging than ever for those trying to control the spread of information online, whether it's a Hollywood studio trying to tamp down on movie pirates or the NFL trying to prevent fans from live-streaming games they're at. Via Fortune:

After a recent boxing match, for instance, Hollywood got into a widely-publicized confrontation with Twitter over the latter allowing live streams of the match.


In Facebook’s latest push to live video, it seemed aware of the possibility for copyright violations as facilitated by the platform. In April, it introduced a new tool called Rights Manager, which lets copyright holders upload their content to a "Rights Manager reference library." "We check every Facebook Live video stream against files in the Rights Manager reference library, and if a match surfaces, we’ll interrupt that live video," said Facebook in a blog post at the time.

While that would work for a film, album or TV show in digital release, it's not going to work for live events, like a football game, boxing match, or the upcoming Olympics—all events on which rights holders traditionally try to keep a tight hold.

Most every day users, unversed in copyright law, may be largely unaware of how live streaming could potentially be violating copy or broadcast rights, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. That antipiracy firm in India may have a lot of work on its hands in the near future.

Elmo is a writer with Real Future.

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