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People Recording Your Live Shows Without Permission? Read This!

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

By Sholdon Daniels

As a performer, protecting your live performances from unauthorized recordings is crucial in maintaining control over your creative works. Thankfully, Texas law offers some protections in this regard. Section 641.052 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code specifically addresses the unauthorized recording of live performances, outlining penalties for those who engage in this activity.


Under Section 641.052, a person commits an offense if they knowingly record or fix a live performance without the owner's consent for commercial advantage or private financial gain, or if they advertise, sell, or transport such recordings. The penalties for this offense vary based on the number of unauthorized recordings and whether the defendant has a previous conviction under this section.


If the offense involves at least 1,000 unauthorized recordings or the defendant has a prior conviction under this section, they may be punished with imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. For offenses involving between 100 and 1,000 unauthorized recordings, the penalty may include imprisonment for up to two years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. For all other offenses, the penalty may include confinement in the county jail for up to one year, a fine of up to $25,000, or both.


It's also worth mentioning that, in the absence of a written agreement or law stating otherwise, the performer or performers of a live performance are presumed to own the rights to record or fix those sounds. This means that if you perform live, you have a certain level of control over how your performances are recorded and used.


If you suspect that your live performances have been recorded or fixed without your consent, it's important to consult with an entertainment lawyer who can advise you on your options. In some cases, you may be able to take legal action to prevent the unauthorized use of your recordings and seek damages for any harm that has been done to your career or reputation.


Finally, you should also know that Section 641.052 also outlines rules of evidence for cases involving unauthorized recordings of live performances. Specifically, a person authorized to maintain business records that reflect whether the owner of a live performance consented to having the live performance recorded or fixed is considered a proper witness in a proceeding regarding the issue of consent. This means that if you are in a legal dispute over the use of a recording of your live performance, you may be able to rely on business records to support your case.


If you perform live music or shows in Texas, it's important to understand your rights and protections when it comes to the unauthorized recording of your live performances. Section 641.052 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code provides some important protections, and an experienced entertainment lawyer like Attorney Sholdon Daniels can help you navigate any legal issues that may arise.


Call 1-844-SHOLDON to schedule your consultation today!

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