Films and Broadcasts
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Films and broadcasts are undeniably a valuable resource for students and are available from a variety or sources in various formats. Equally there are numerous myths and assumptions as to the permitted uses whether governed by legislation or licence, which hopefully this document will clarify.
Legislation for Lending or Copying Film/Broadcasts
Current copyright legislation is contained in the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) and the exceptions that are particularly relevant in the use of film/ broadcasts in Libraries and for education are explained below. These exceptions are more commonly referred to as Fair Dealing which are ‘defences’ in law, NOT absolute rights.
N.B. S.29 For Research and Private Study EXCLUDES Film, Broadcasts, sound recordings.
S.30 Criticism, review and news reporting
- Must be a genuine criticism or review of material
- Must be made available/communicated to the public
- News reporting must be of current events
S.31 Incidental inclusion – except where deliberately included.
S.32(2) For the purpose of instruction
- For non-commercial courses in making film or film soundtracks.
S.32(3) For the purpose of examination
- Anything can be done for the purpose of setting, communicating or answering an examination question.
- Must be sufficiently acknowledged unless impossible or impractical
- No further dealing permitted e.g. public exhibitions, festivals, portfolios, publication.
S.34(1) Performing, playing or showing literary, dramatic or musical work in the course of activities of educational establishment to persons directly connected with the activities of educational establishment (specifically excludes parents).
- By teachers or pupils in the course of activities of the educational establishment
- At the establishment by any person for the purposes of instruction.
S.34(2) Playing or showing a sound recording, film or broadcast by such persons at the educational establishment for the purpose of instruction.
- Permits the recording of a broadcast and copy of a broadcast to be made by or on behalf of an educational establishment for non-commercial educational purposes (in any medium). Sufficient acknowledgement must be attached.
- These recordings can be shown to the public on the premises of the University provided the broadcast cannot be received by anyone outside.
- Recordings must be clearly and appropriately labelled with the four following items:
- Date (when the recording was made)
- Name of the broadcaster
- Programme title
- The wording 'This recording is to be used only for educational and non-commercial purposes under the terms of CDPA 1988 s.35'.
- S.35 has been superseded by the existence of Licences for recording UK Terrestrial TV/Radio i.e. ERA and OU (see below).
- Satellite, Cable Channels, Feature Films and Advertisements are currently not included in any Licence repertoires therefore can be recorded under S.35.
S36A Lending copies by educational establishments
S.40A(2) Lending copies by libraries or archives (except public libraries)
Overseas Campus’ and Distance Learners
No recordings may be supplied or made available to anyone outside the UK.
The Statutory fair dealing provisions (above) and all licences relating to broadcasts are restricted for use within the UK due to complex rights issues.
Digitisation/ Format shifting is not permitted under current UK law, although this was one of the recommended changes proposed in the Gowers Review 2006 but not yet implemented. ERA permits digitisation and format shifting for Licensed recordings only (below).
Purchased Video’s /DVD’s
Commercial recordings normally have a licence agreement or Terms and Conditions attached, prohibiting the copying, lending, selling or showing to the public.
No further copying is permitted without permission from the rights owners.
No format shifting/digitisation is permitted without permission from the rights owners.
Recordings purchased for the University Library and sold to the Library by the usual supplier, knowing the normal business of the University Library, can be lent under an ‘implied licence’ and under S.36A or S.40A(2) CDPA 1988.
If the recording has been purchased via any other means e.g. by an individual from a store or online, the attached restrictions would apply.
Overseas/Multi-regional DVD’s can be purchased and viewed on a genuinely purchased multi-regional DVD player, not one that has been ‘Chipped’ or modified illegitimately.
Unclassified Recordings - Under the Video Recordings Act (VRA) 1984 S.3 (amended 1993) there is no specific exemption for educational establishments to lend/supply unclassified recordings, but does exempt supply where there is no reward and is not in the course of, or for the ‘furtherance of a business’. Therefore libraries and educational establishments may fall within this category.
However, supplying to anyone in medical training or training in a related occupation is permitted under S.10-11.
Free/Promotional DVD’s given with Newspapers, magazines etc. can be treated the same as commercially purchased material i.e. restrictions on lending do not apply to libraries.
Recordings made under the ERA Licence (Educational Recordings Agency)
The ERA Licence covers recordings of all UK Terrestrial TV and Radio Broadcasts by any member of staff from any location e.g. school, home etc. for non-commercial, educational purposes.
- Date (when the recording was made)
- Name of the broadcaster
- Programme title
- The wording 'This recording is to be used only for educational and non-commercial purposes under the terms of the ERA Licence'.
A log of recordings or copies made under the licence may be required for ERA survey purposes.
ERA recordings may be lent to staff or students based in the UK (including UK Distance Learning students) for personal/private viewing or non-commercial, educational purposes only. ERA recommend students sign a declaration to this effect.
Further copying is also permissible under this licence for additional stock or back-up but must be labelled as above.
A copy may also be supplied to or requested from other ERA licensed institutions, in return for a blank tape/CD/DVD. (The BUFVC off-air recordings service functions under this provision of the licence. See below)
Extracts for use in projects are permitted providing they are not edited, altered or amended in any way. Extracts may not be used as part of a public performance.
Recordings stored digitally on a server should include the above four details as a written opening credit or webpage which must be viewed or listened to, before access to the recording is permitted.
Digital recordings stored on-site may only be communicated to registered persons (i.e. staff and students) situated within the premises of the University. Therefore recordings cannot be made accessible via OASIS, Web CT or any other web based means. An ‘ERA Plus’ Licence is currently available which permits off-site access from within the UK but Middlesex University do not yet subscribe.
Off-air recordings can be requested from BUFVC under the ERA Licence and used for non-commercial educational purposes as above. This service is particularly useful for missed programmes.
BUFVC federated search environment is an 'all-in-one' search engine allowing users to access nine online databases, containing more than 13 million records relating to film, television and radio content dating from 1896 onwards, via Athens authentication.
BUFVC have an online service called BoB (Box of Broadcasts) which permits subscribers who hold an ERA Plus licence, to create playlists of recent or pre-requested UK Television or Radio Broadcasts for use in education. (currently being considered)
Under the OUW Off-air recording licence, recordings can be made of Open University programmes Broadcast on UK Television (mainly BBC2) for educational purposes.
OU programmes must be recorded in their entirety as recording extracts is not permitted.
All recordings, or copies of recordings must be clearly and appropriately labelled with the following items:
Date (when the recording was made)
Name of the broadcaster
The wording 'This recording is to be used only for educational and non-commercial purposes under the terms of the OUW Licence'.
Each recording must be logged with the Library as payment is required annually, calculated by the number of programmes recorded and how long each one is kept.
Up to 4 additional copies of each recording may be made under the OU licence without requiring further payment. Copies exceeding this number must be reported and are subject to additional fees.
OU videos can be accessed online via the ‘BBC/OU Open2.net’ open access site at:
under a ‘Creative Archives licence’. The recordings can be viewed /downloaded strictly for non-commercial use by individuals or educational establishments.
On-Demand Services –
BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand Five, Virgin On-Demand
is currently no provision in the law or licenses for copy/using recordings from
on-demand services. Therefore they are governed by the wbsite /service Terms and Conditions of Use.
However, recent responses to enquiries from Educational establishments have resulted in permission being granted on the basis that an ERA Licence is in place.
Satellite/Cable/Overseas Broadcasts/Advertisements and other unlicensed broadcasts Until a Licence is in place, advertisements, overseas cable & satellite programmes may be recorded free for educational purposes under the CDPA 1988 S.35 'Fair Dealing' defence for education.
Film Clubs and Non- Educational/Instructional viewings
None of the exceptions or licences above could be construed to allow viewing in film clubs or societies. The only exception for education is for the purpose of instruction. Therefore as clubs are normally run for entertainment or fund raising purposes, a PVSL (Public Video Screening licence) from http://www.Filmbank.co.uk would be required.
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