Copyright & Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

April 15, 2020

By Courtney A. H. Thompson and Jacob M. Abdo

During the COVID-19 outbreak, we find ourselves spending an increasing amount of time online. Education, work, entertainment, social gatherings and religious ceremonies are now experienced via technology. Copyright law plays an important role in the sharing of creative content. However, some activities that are exempt from copyright liability when done in person may be an infringement when transmitted over the internet.

For example, when a teacher posts a video online in which she reads aloud from a book without permission from the author and/or publisher, she may run afoul of copyright law. For this reason, celebrated author J.K. Rowling granted teachers an open license to post videos of them reading from the Harry Potter series on schools’ secure networks or closed educational platforms until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. But even the “expelliarmus” spell can’t disarm copyright law or make sense of its complex licensing regime.

Whether you are an employer, an educator or a creative professional, legal guidance can help you avoid unintentionally violating copyright law.

For more information, contact a member of the Advertising, Marketing & Trademark Group.

Fredrikson & Byron COVID-19 Resource Center