Copyright relating to Film, Video & Broadcasting


Film and video 

Who owns the copyright in film? 

As a rule, the first copyright owner of a work will be the author, unless they are under contract or an employee of an organisation who claims ownership of the work as a condition of their employment. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) identifies the film producer and principal director as the joint authors and first copyright owners of a film. 

How long does copyright in film last?

At the end of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the death of the last of these occurs: 

  • the principal director
  • the author of the screenplay
  • the author of the dialogue
  • the composer of music made especially for the film

If the identity of any of the above is unknown then copyright expires at the end of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the film was made or was first made available to the public.

Can I show films and videos in the classroom?

Exception 34 of the CDPA permits the showing of copyrighted film and video programmes in an educational establishment as long as 

  • they are shown by a staff or pupil in the course of activities connected to the establishment 
  • they are shown only for the purpose of instruction 
  • the audience is limited to staff, students and others directly connected with the establishment. 

Public performances, e.g. films shown at film clubs or non-teaching events or to audiences that include non-university staff and students, require a special non-theatrical licence such as FilmBankMedia or Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC). Advice on choosing a licence is available from the Independent Cinema Office

Can I use film and video clips in my research, essays or lectures?

The CDPA also includes exceptions which permit the use of film and video clips for the purpose of research and private study, criticism, review and quotation, illustration for instruction, and parody, caricature and pastiche. 

These exceptions are subject to fair dealing so the use must be reasonable and appropriate, accompanied by sufficient acknowledgment and must not cause the copyright owner to lose revenue. 

There is no statutory definition of fair dealing. It will always be a matter of fact, degree, and impression in each case.

Copying for illustration or instruction must be done by a person giving or receiving instruction.

Visit for more information.

Can I include film and video clips in lecture captures?

Film and video extracts can be included in lecture captures for the purpose of illustration for instruction as long as the use is fair dealing and the lectures are stored in a secure environment (e.g. Keats) and accessed only by registered users. 

Can I copy commercial DVDs for educational or research purposes?

Although the copying of commercial DVDs is not covered by the ERA licence (see below) the showing of commercial DVDs for educational purposes is permitted under exception 34 of the CDPA and the use of extracts from DVDs is permitted under the exceptions for research and private study, criticism, review and quotation, illustration for instruction, and parody, caricature and pastiche, provided that the use is fair dealing. Copying a whole film for the purposes of private research or study would not normally be considered fair dealing.  

The use of 'frame grabs' from a DVD for the purpose of criticism and review is generally considered acceptable as long as the use is fair dealing but production stills have their own copyright and permission would normally be required*.

*Caution is recommended when relying on the criticism and review exception for copying photographs. Where possible use images that are licensed for reuse or made available under a public domain declaration.


Can I upload film and video clips sourced from YouTube and other websites to KEATS?

Uploading copyright works to KEATS is permissible under the illustration for instruction exception as long as the amount copied is proportionate for the intended use and is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement. However, given the uncertain provenance of much material posted online we recommended that you copy or embed a link to the site that hosts the video rather than download or copy the video itself. 

Always check that the content provider allows this. For example, both YouTube and BBC News provide functionality that allows links to content to be embedded for non-commercial purposes. 

Avoid linking to content if you have reason to believe the work has been uploaded without the permission of the copyright owner.    

Radio and television broadcasts

Who owns the copyright in broadcasts?

The author and first copyright owner of a broadcast is the person responsible for making the broadcast 

How long does copyright last in broadcasts?

Copyright in a broadcast expires at the end of the period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the broadcast was made 

Can I record television and radio broadcasts to show in the classroom?

The university holds an Education Recording Agency (ERA) licence which permits the recording of free to air programmes and broadcasts for non-commercial and educational purposes. Recordings can be made by departments or members of staff. The licence also allows lending of those recordings to staff and students. 

The ERA licence also gives the university access to the Broadcasts service which allows staff and students to access and record programmes from over 60 free-to-air television and radio channels. As well as accessing an archive of recorded programmes users can create clips and compile playlists. 

What conditions govern the use of ERA recordings?

Recordings can only be used for non-commercial and educational purposes and cannot be edited or modified, though the making of extracts is permitted. 

Each recording should be marked with the title of the recording, the name of the broadcaster, date of the broadcast and with the following notice: 

"This recording is to be used only for non-commercial educational purposes under the terms of an ERA licence". 

Does the ERA licence cover cable and satellite broadcasts?

No, cable and satellite broadcasters are not covered by the ERA licence. 

Can I record broadcasts from “on-demand” services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub?

Yes, the terms and conditions of BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and My5 now allow ERA licence holders to access their content under the terms and conditions of the licence.

Can I embed ERA recordings in PowerPoint presentations?

Yes, this is permitted as long as the terms and conditions of the ERA licence are met.

Can I upload ERA recordings to KEATS?

Recordings permitted under the ERA licence can be uploaded to KEATS as long as access is restricted to registered users. 

Can I supply ERA recordings to overseas students?

No. Supplying recordings in either hard copy form or by electronic means to distance learning students outside the UK is not permitted under the ERA Licence.

See also the ERA Licence FAQs web page.

  • Last Updated Aug 30, 2022
  • Views 1929
  • Answered By Pete Garner

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