News & Events

World Television Day

20 November 2018 | Posted in News

Today is World Television Day which is an annual event celebrating the impact television continues to have on promoting creativity, diversity and education. With a day focused on television and its role in education, I think it’s a good reason to have a look at how Intellectual Property (IP) has been vital to TV. From our favourite narratives, preserved by copyright, trade marks, protecting a show’s brand, to the essential, patent protected technology that’s used to produce the shows we love to watch. Within the television industry, copyright is one of the most common IP rights. It protects original literary, musical and artistic work; including illustration. Copyright is an automatic right that starts as soon as the work is created, you do not need to apply and there isn’t a register in the UK for copyrighted works. So how can you protect your work if there isn’t a register? Well, work can be protected by marking it with the copyright symbol: ‘©’, your name and the date the work was created. Generally, in the UK, the duration of copyright is usually for the life of the creator, plus 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which they died. However, different terms of duration apply for some types of copyright work, and certain older works may be subject to different rules. A show can also use its copyright protected material, with the help of trade marks, to build a brand. Unlike copyright, trade marks are registered and provide legal protection to a brand. BBC’s ‘Dr Who’ is a great example of a TV show that has used its collection of registered trade marks to create a brand that is now known in multiple countries. ‘Dr Who’ produces more than just TV episodes, the brand also has a wide range of merchandise that is protected by copyright, trade marks and designs. This collection of IP has made ‘Dr Who’ one of the UK’s most well-known and exportable shows. Patents have also played a large part in TV. A patent is another form of IP which is granted to an inventor, giving them the right to stop others, for a limited period, from making, using or selling the invention without their permission. The first cine-camera was patented in the late 19th century and to this date, new camera technology is being developed constantly. This new technology involves more than just cameras. From lights to editing software, new developments are patent protected. By patenting an invention, creators are given exclusive rights that help protect their invention from those trying to copy. We all have our favourite shows that have gripped, informed and even inspired us. So, whether it’s protecting a new script or theme tune with copyright, developing a brand using trade marks or protecting the filming technology with a patent, many of the world’s best TV shows would not have been possible without IP. If you would like to find out more about the different IP rights, our free lesson plans and teaching resources can be found on the Cracking Ideas website.

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