Webcasting in the Time of COVID-19: Copyright Implications of Remote Worship & Distance Learning [April 3, 2020]   [open pdf - 624KB]

From the Document: "Unauthorized public performance or display of a copyrighted work generally gives rise to liability for copyright infringement; however, current law exempts certain activities from infringement when performed in person. For example, singing a copyrighted hymn or performing a religious work during a religious service at a place of worship is exempted from infringement liability, as is the performance or display of a copyrighted work by an instructor while teaching in the classroom. As a result of the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] social distancing policies, however, groups have begun webcasting what were previously in-person gatherings. ('Webcasting' is the practice of broadcasting an event live over the internet.) Places of worship may webcast their usual religious services. Schools and universities may webcast classes. Copyright law, however, treats transmissions like webcasting differently than in-person activities in some circumstances. Thus, certain activities generally exempt from copyright liability when performed in person may be infringing when they are transmitted or webcast over the internet. This Sidebar provides a background on copyright law before outlining possible approaches to exempting transmission of these events from copyright infringement liability."

Report Number:
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10440
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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