Siding with ABC, Yahoo and other media companies, a federal judge in Manhattan has dismissed copyright infringement lawsuits brought by a man who live-streamed his son's birth on Facebook.
The decision, issued Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, brings an end to a series of lawsuits filed by Kali Kanongataa. Last May, Kanongataa drew worldwide attention when he streamed his son's birth through Facebook Live. ABC's "Good Morning America" ran an item about the stream and showed a brief, 22-second excerpt of the 45-minute video. A snippet of the video also appeared on Yahoo (which has a partnership with ABC), NBC Universal and other companies.
Kanongataa later said he thought his family in the Polynesian island Tonga would be able to view the video, but didn't expect it to be seen by the public at large.
The media companies urged Kaplan to dismiss the complaints on the grounds that they had a "fair use" right to show a portion of the clip in conjunction with an item about the growth of live-streaming.
"This case presents a textbook example of a fair use," ABC and Yahoo wrote in papers filed with Kaplan last November. "ABC reported and commented on a socially significant and newsworthy event: the phenomenon of a couple using the Facebook Lives program to publicly broadcast their son’s birth on the Internet."
Kaplan ordered the cases closed on Wednesday. He didn't spell out his reasoning in a written decision.