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Coronavirus drove a boom in virtual content; to protect artists, copyright law must catch up

John Krasinski's YouTube show "Some Good News" operated on a deep well of coronavirus good will that won't likely extend to its new platform, CBS. <span class="copyright">(YouTube)</span>
John Krasinski’s YouTube show “Some Good News” operated on a deep well of coronavirus good will that won’t likely extend to its new platform, CBS. (YouTube)

On April 19, Rainn Wilson (a.k.a. Dwight Schrute) appeared on John Krasinski’s YouTube show “Some Good News,” and warned his former “Office” cast member not to stream a Chance the Rapper song without first getting permission from the artist or the publishing company. Krasinski then brought Chance himself onto the show, and he gave the green light.

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated this type of abundant good will across media and entertainment businesses: DJs are spinning music free online; Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are posting dances to popular songs on TikTok, Broadway performers are singing tributes to Stephen Sondheim on YouTube, art gallery exhibitions have gone virtual and professional athletes are playing video games on ESPN.

But all these well-intentioned efforts have

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