ATLANTA -- Stacy Daxe entered Sting's recent concert at Chastain Park Amphitheatre as a fan and left irritated.
Not at the singer/bassist, who brought fans on a tight, two-hour romp through his historical career, but at the audience that ruined her experience.
So aggravated was Daxe that she went home and quit Facebook.
"My enjoyment was marred by idiots filming the concert and posting links to their Facebook status," Daxe said. "It was annoying, rude and quite ridiculous given the fact that the quality of those videos was so poor, even Batman wouldn't have been able to see them."
It's a common sight at concerts in the modern technology era. Smartphones, iPads, even a few antiquated cell phones are no longer merely an accessory to make a phone call or send a text.
At concerts, they're seemingly a necessity -- a vessel to capture a few minutes of musical history for some or, for others, a reason to brag to friends on social media, "Hey! Look where I am!"
But what most concertgoers may not realize is that the two-minute video they posted of Steven Tyler rocking "Dream On" might be breaking the law.
The Copyright Act states that there is no statutory exemption for personal use in this context, so don't assume that the law doesn't apply to you.
"In general, the person who owns the copyright in the musical composition embodied in the video has the exclusive right to publically perform it, reproduce it and distribute it," said Margaret R. Marshall, shareholder and entertainment attorney at Greenberg Traurig law firm.
Different types of civil liabilities exist under the Copyright Act, including actual and statutory damages and attorneys' fees.
And, said Marshall, "Under the Copyright Act, it could be on a per infringement basis."
Makes you think twice about those Facebook posts, doesn't it?
But Marshall pointed out that while those who record concerts and slap them on a public social media site are likely infringing, at a minimum, on the musical composition copyright, "Is the artist going to go after everyone? No, it's pragmatically impossible."
She also noted that while yes, artists' public performances and/or distribution of their musical compositions would be copyright infringement, often times legal issues may only arise when the work is distributed commercially -- unless other circumstances are involved.
Additionally, unauthorized recordings of live musical performances may violate state laws, including anti-bootlegging statutes and copyright and publicity rights laws.
"I wouldn't show my bootleg recordings to anybody," Marshall said. "Any commercial distribution or non-private performance becomes a problem."
Some venues -- such as Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta -- have always maintained policies that photo equipment with detachable lenses are prohibited. This season, they've added tablets to the list of forbidden items because of the high-quality video the devices are capable of taking and because their placemat-size screens are more than a bit obtrusive when positioned midair for optimal recording.
Lakewood -- and about 30 other Live Nation amphitheaters nationwide -- also implemented a new outlet of customer service. Stickers on the backs of chairs in the venue provide a number for fans to text if someone around them is interfering with their concert experience.
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