Print this page Print this page

New Media Rights Framework

These guidelines set out the rights frameworks under which the BBC will commission stand-alone new media propositions.

They have been developed in consultation with the BBC's new media suppliers and PACT.

They aim to give clear guidance to both commissioners and suppliers about the way rights should be treated in new media commissions.

All parties recognise that this is an evolving market and the guidelines will need to be kept under review and developed as the market develops.

They are aimed at ensuring that the BBC is able to meet its public service commitments while at the same time allowing independent suppliers to retain and exploit rights where appropriate.

They are intended to apply to stand-alone new media commissions and not to professional services e.g. technical consultancy. New media elements of independent television or radio programmes are covered separately.

The headlines for the Five New Media Rights Frameworks are as follows:

Framework 1 - The Supplier owns any new stand alone content proposal they bring to the BBC; the BBC has an exclusive licence only.

Framework 2 - The BBC retains all rights in a stand alone new media commission based on an existing BBC created format, associated with an in-house programme or based on a BBC developed idea.

Framework 3 - The Supplier licences their existing third party content or services to the BBC on a non-exclusive basis.

Framework 4 - The Supplier licences their off the shelf technology product to the BBC on a non-exclusive basis.

Framework 5 - The Supplier licences their off the shelf technology product to the BBC on a non-exclusive basis, but the BBC owns (or may take a non-exclusive licence in) the bespoke development which it specifies and pays for.

Key points to using the Rights Frameworks:

  • The BBC's commissioners should identify which Rights Framework applies before asking suppliers to respond to a request for a proposal.
  • Suppliers should then provide a fully costed proposal which should include all necessary fees, payments etc.
  • The majority of commissions will fit under one of these Frameworks, but is also accepted that some may not; given the varied nature of these commissions there will need to be some flexibility in how they operate.
  • The question of the share of any revenue from commercial exploitation will need to be discussed and agreed on a case by case basis. 

The frameworks

DescriptionKey Features
Framework 1: Supplier Owns

New stand-alone content commissions, perhaps linked to a genre but not to a TV or radio programme
Note 1: if commissioned as part of an Indie TV or radio programme, the TV Terms of Trade or RadioTerms of Trade will apply
Note 2: if commissioned as part of an in-house programme, then Framework 2 below will apply
Supplier new media content proposal (e.g. broadband teen drama)
Supplier retains rights in the proposal; the BBC has an exclusive licence for all BBC public service uses for 5 years with an option to extend for 2 years for an additional fee. There will be a number of projects where 5 years is not required and these will be identified at the commissioning stage.
BBC retains rights in any BBC branding or BBC look and feel.
During the BBC's exclusive licence, Supplier can exploit the same proposition commercially outside of the UK from BBC first use, but not target UK audience.
Any commercial exploitation opportunities in the UK during the BBC's exclusive licence should be subject
to the BBC's approval.
Any new technology rights created as a result of writing code shall be retained by the Supplier who grants the BBC a non-exclusive licence for use of the technology as part of the commission on all BBC public service platforms for the duration of the licence granted in the content.
From time to time the BBC may wish to own bespoke technology rights specified by the BBC, but this should be highlighted by the commissioner up front and the commissioned price should reflect that these rights are being acquired, (unless agreed subsequently in which case it should be paid for as an addition to the commissioned price).
Framework 2: BBC Owns

a stand-alone commission based on an existing BBC created format, in-house programme or developed idea; or commissioned from an independent as part of a 'strand' of programming or campaign (similar to the 3.9 exception to the Code of Practice for TV).
Note: Where the BBC asserts its ownership of an idea, the BBC should be able to specify the following:
User interaction
Content
Target audience
Deliverables
BBC retains rights in the content, worldwide and on all platforms. Example: games for the Dr Who website.
The BBC would be able to re-sell, re-use, modify or otherwise exploit the content.
Supplier would retain any pre-existing, underlying technology rights but grant the BBC a non-exclusive licence for use of the technology as part of the commission for all BBC public service and commercial uses i.e. the licence would need to be perpetual and sub-licensable.
The BBC would retain ownership of the newly created code, so as to be able to use and exploit when selling the associated television programme.
Framework 3: Third Party Content or Services Licence DealThis is a licence of existing third party content e.g. text, images and other content or services.
This will involve largely non-exclusive licence of pre-existing content or services for a stated period.
There will be occasions when the BBC wishes to take an exclusive licence for a period, but this will form part of the individual negotiation at the time.
Clearly there will be a price differential between an exclusive and a non-exclusive deal. Example: a non-exclusive licence of sporting images for all BBC public services uses.
Framework 4: Technology Licence DealThis is for a standardised off-the -shelf technology product or application which can be supported by the supplier. Example: web search.
The BBC would take a non-exclusive licence to use the technology for all relevant BBC public service uses for the duration required, and which will relate to the licence fee.
The supplier retains ownership of all pre-existing technology, but not of any of the content which is running through the software application or any associated data which will be owned by the BBC.
Framework 5: Bespoke Technology DealUnder this framework, the BBC would own the bespoke technology, i.e. the technology created to the BBC's specific technical requirements or purpose, and would require only a non-exclusive licence of the pre-existing, underlying, technology.
The external supplier retains ownership of pre-existing underlying technology but not to the bespoke elements.
There may however be instances where the BBC is satisfied with a non-exclusive licence for the bespoke element, as well as for the pre-existing underlying technology rights, provided the BBC has all of the rights its needs to use the technology for its purposes.
The supplier retains ownership of all pre-existing technology but not of any of the content which is running through the software application or any associated data which will be owned by the BBC.

Note on Source Code and Object Code in new media commissioning:

Where software programme code forms part of a commission, ownership and use of source code and object code also needs to be clear. The BBC will follow the following principles:

  • Where the BBC has a licence only (Frameworks 1, 3 & 4), the BBC will require i) delivery of and a licence to use the object code for the purposes of the commission and ii) delivery of and a licence to use the source code for the purposes of security checking and quality assurance only and for no other use (unless otherwise agreed in writing).
  • Where the BBC will own rights in a new media commission (Frameworks 2 and 5), the BBC will require delivery and ownership of all new source code and object code created as part of the commission. This is so that the BBC can edit, modify and maintain and otherwise use the new code created as a result of the commission.
  • Where the BBC has a licence to use the source code only for the purposes of security checking and quality assurance, the BBC may also require the supplier to provide support for a further 12 months (or longer) after the warranty period (including an agreed rate card).
  • Where source code is crucial to output, the BBC may require a supplier to lodge a copy of the source code with a third party escrow agreement, such that it is accessible in the event of certain trigger events (bankruptcy etc). The BBC commissioner should consider whether an escrow agreement is required at the point of commisioning.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

The latest blog posts by the BBC's online teams
The Future Media Standards & Guidelines

Copyright © 2014 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.