Producers Handbook

Copyright & Fair Dealing

Key Points

  • Programme-makers are responsible for ensuring that all necessary clearances (copyright, trademarks etc.) have been obtained for their programmes.
  • In the event of a copyright clearance query, programme-makers should contact their allocated commercial affairs executive in the first instance, unless it relates to fair dealing or issues of potential infringement, in which case programme-makers should contact the programme lawyer.
  • Where appropriate, programme-makers must obtain the consent of the copyright owner before including a copyright work in a programme, normally in the form of a signed licence agreement. If programme-makers encounter problems clearing footage or other material, or consent by the copyright owner is denied, programme-makers must ensure the material in question is removed from the programme or, otherwise, must alert the programme lawyer, who will decide whether or not it can be used pursuant to one of the statutory defences that exist, for example "incidental inclusion" or "fair dealing".
  • 'Fair dealing' is a defence to copyright infringement which allows works that are otherwise protected by the law of copyright to be used within programmes in certain circumstances, without being licensed. Where there is any wish or intention to ‘fair deal’, programme-makers must seek the consent and advice of the programme lawyer. Note that most sports footage cannot be fair dealt and can only be used in accordance with the provisions of the Sports News Access Code, to which Channel 4 is a signatory.
  • For general enquiries regarding music clearance matters, please refer to the 'commercial affairs – rights department at Channel 4.
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