Insights IPO publishes revised guidance on the public showing or playing of broadcasts following changes to s 72 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA)

The guidance provides information on the licences that organisations/businesses need to consider when showing broadcasts on their premises, e.g. to customers and employees.

Section 72 of the CDPA sets out a limited number of exceptions to some of the exclusive rights enjoyed by copyright owners. Previously, s 72 contained an exception to the right to control the showing, playing and other communication of films and TV broadcasts to the public where no admission fee was charged. Therefore, organisations that did not charge for admission (e.g. pubs) were allowed to show TV broadcasts and films without permission from the copyright owners.

The Copyright (Free Public Showing or Playing) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 amended s 72 of the CDPA and came into force on 15 June 2016. The legislation removed “film” from the list of exceptions. Therefore, venues that do not charge the public an entrance fee are now required to obtain additional licences for copyright contained in films. A “film”, as defined in s 5B of the CDPA, is any “recording from which a moving image may be produced”. The definition therefore includes all audiovisual recordings, including recorded TV programmes, and not only films made to be shown in cinemas.

In February 2022, the Government published its Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the 2016 legislation to assess whether the changes had achieved their original objectives and remain fit for purpose. The Review found, amongst other things, that the Regulations had led to a higher level of licensing activity, particularly in respect of premises showing TV programmes, which had resulted in TVs being removed from staff canteens, receptions, and other work environments. The Review also showed that some copyright users considered that the cost of licences was not always clearly explained nor proportionate to the amount of content used. The PIR recommended that the IPO publishes updated guidance to clarify licensing requirements.

The updated guidance from the IPO sets out general guidance on showing broadcasts in public and explains the different types of licences. It also includes a flow diagram to help copyright users decide whether they need a licence for using TV in commercial or non-commercial public spaces, e.g. in receptions, waiting rooms, shop floors, office spaces and canteens.

The updated guidance also covers the provision of IT equipment and internet access to employees (who might then view copyright works for which a licence might be needed), as well as information on licensing bodies and the cost of licences. It also includes a series of frequently asked questions and answers. To access the updated guidance, click here.