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Social Media and 'Flash Infringement': Live Music Culture and Dying IP Protection

27 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017  

Michael M. Epstein

Southwestern Law School

Date Written: 2017


This article interrogates issues of music intellectual property rights infringement at live performances. I am especially interested in music infringement at live concerts and DJ-driven mash-up parties, and the use of technologies to transfer protected content by smartphone — or remote storage device — at or near the performance site. The covalent forces of social media, including the use of smartphone apps such as Meerkat and Periscope, and flash mob culture have created a perhaps unstoppable threat to copyright and other intellectual property rights — a phenomenon that I define in this article as “flash infringement.” In a flash infringement setting, it may be impossible to stop the infringement among thousands of partygoers or fans and their online followers.

Keywords: Intellectual property, live performances, music infringement, flash infringement

Suggested Citation

Epstein, Michael M., Social Media and 'Flash Infringement': Live Music Culture and Dying IP Protection (2017). 3 Belmont Law Review 1 (2016); Belmont University College of Law Research Paper No. 2017-1; Southwestern Law School Research Paper No. 2017-3. Available at SSRN:

Michael M. Epstein (Contact Author)

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

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