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See also; Copyright and; Fair Dealing

(IMPORTANT: The following information is a basic outline describing aspects of U.K licensing and broadcasting procedure and law, as well as International practices. It is not a comprehensive legal guide to be relied upon without specific professional legal assistance.)


As you would expect this area of film and television can be very complicated and it is advised to learn as much as possible to help avoid problems later and to prevent all your hard work on any project being impeded, or shelved by legal technicalities.


Licenses are necessary to grant legal use of film, video, music etc. You need licenses to acquire a legal agreement (this does not necessarily include payment) to broadcast, distribute, exploit another persons work, even if it is part of another programme. In a license, it should be stated how long or how many times your media will be used. You will need to stipulate a fee for first use, then another for repeat fees. This would include your syndication rights (see syndication).


These are a group of public domain license agreements with varying degrees of permissions for the use and reuse of a creative work. More information from;


A term used to indicate that work is prohibited for use in any unpaid and uncredited way, whether commercially or not.


A term that means although you grant someone the right to screen your work, or include it, or part of it in a programme, you are not allowing them to take away your right to promote it elsewhere on other channels, or media. It is advised (unless it's a commercial contract with a licensing fee, i.e. you get paid a satisfactory amount) not to sign any documentation that does not include this detail (caveat). These conditions include the use of media for internet broadcast / streaming.


Laws and legal details can and do vary from country to country. So if your looking at an international broadcast medium, it is worth knowing the terms of licensing, copyright and permissions you may need in a wider context.

Broadcasters will require proof of permission to use third party media, like music. The names of who appear (are interviewed) in the film, and assurances of signed release forms for each of those people. You will have to sign a contract / license in order for your film to be broadcast.

For news items clearance is far more straight forward because of the nature of the material.


Something important many can forget. Once you sell your media to a broadcaster they are likely to sell it on as part of a programme. Some may even use it as archive for sale. Question is, have you still retained your rights to the work and therefor are in a position to gain financially from further sale, or reuse ?

An example; you film a news event, the media is sold to a broadcast company / agency. It is used for news, but then becomes archive which is then further resold for use in a documentary. Have you ensured that you will get paid, or have you signed an agreement that allows the broadcaster to get away with one payment ?

Examples of music and interview release forms can be found on; Consent - Release Forms.

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