Are You Breaking Copyright Laws?

In the use of short clips from TV in apps and other promotions….

I’m aware of the fact that quite a number of readers either run, or are closely involved with running a business. One of our commonly asked questions from business owners is can I use some broadcast clips in my own video or app?”.

Using a professionally made video clip can have its advantages. It is well known that videos of any kind can engage your audience really well and often broadcast, or professionally made clips work well as part of that creative mix.

But the question is when do I need permission to use them?

The simple answer is, if you want to use any copyright matter be it photo, music or film and it doesn’t belong to you, then you should ask permission from the copyright owner in order to use it.

Unfortunately, sometimes the copyright owner isn’t obvious. For example, a clip of a sporting event may be broadcast by the BBC but the right to broadcast it and the owner of copyright is likely to be a sporting body such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, as recently happened with an app that shared 8 second sporting clips.

In the case of England and Wales Cricket Board v Tixdaq Limited, the Court ruled that even the reproduction of short 8 second clips were “substantial copying” for the purposes of infringement. Tixdaq’s defence of “fair dealing” also failed. Fair dealing is a defence that can sometimes be run where the copying takes place to report current events and a short clip is used to inform viewers or audiences of what is going on. However, if there is a possibility of commercial damage to the rights holder then it won’t apply.

The short point is this – if you want to use copyright materials then get permission!

If you try and seek short cuts or push the boundaries of licensing permissions for film, photos or music clips then you may well find yourself facing litigation from the rights owners. The creators of copyright material have only one way of making an income from their efforts and that is licensing. In today’s digital era, copying is easy but don’t expect a rights holder to ignore the use you have for your commercial gain without paying them.

If you want to discuss this or any related Intellectual Property matters, please get in touch with us on 0113 237 9900 (Leeds Office) or 0207 4128372 (London Office).

You may also like...