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San Diego – It seems each day more people are willing to share ever more personal things on the Internet. Along these lines, in May of this year Kali Kanongataa a California resident used Facebook to live stream his wife giving birth. After portions the live stream ended up on television and publicized on the Internet, he sued ABC and Yahoo for allegedly infringing his copyright by displaying the video.
The day after the live stream, ABC’s “Good Morning America” ran a short segment about the live stream and showed a brief excerpt from the video that was up loaded by Mr. Kanogataa which had been widely viewed online since this airing. The clip also appeared on Yahoo, which has a partnership with ABC.
Mr. Kanogataa explained to People magazine that he has family in the Polynesia island Tonga and by using Facebook Live he was hoping to easily share the birth of his son with them and other family members who were not able to be present. He expressed he never expected it to been seen by the public at large. “There’s a lot of negative stuff on Facebook and so I thought this would be positive,” he reportedly told People magazine in May.
He alleges in a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan that “Good Morning America” and Yahoo never obtained his permission to show the video, which he registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. “Defendants infringed plaintiff’s copyright in the video by reproducing and publicly displaying the video on the GMA Website, Yahoo Website, and on GMA,” he alleges in a petition filed Thursday.
This would not be the first time a main stream media source has been sued for allegedly using material found on a social media outlet without obtaining the proper permissions or license. A freelance photographer, Daniel Morel, who posted one of his photos he captured on the 2010 Haiti earthquake to Twitter, sued Agence France Presse and Getty images for distributing the image without a license. He was awarded $1.2 million after a jury trial.
While both ABC and Yahoo are attempting to defend themselves using “fair use” principles, it will be up to a judge or jury on whether that argument will stand.

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