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16 October 2014
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Intellectual property: protecting BBC copyright and trademarks

The BBC wishes to protect its own material particularly if it is likely to be commercially exploited by others online. This extends to web site content and to domain names (urls or web site addresses) whether or not they are connected to a site. However, at the same time the BBC does not want to discourage genuine "fan sites", provided these do not confuse the public into thinking they are official BBC sites or encourage large scale copying of BBC material.

Appropriate copyright and trademark notices should be used on sites to indicate BBC ownership of material. Domain names should be considered for early registration in accordance with the BBC's Domain Name Policy for programme and channel names, services and products and other key brands. The policy is managed by Technical Direction.

Legal action will be considered if a site is run for commercial gain, trades off the BBC's name, damages the BBC in some other way or where a domain name conflicts with a BBC trade mark or brand. Action may also be considered where a site is non-commercial but contains a large amount of BBC copyright material or uses the BBC logo, but often an informal initial approach is more appropriate on these occasions.

Note that some BBC programme material will be licensed to the public (although not for commercial or promotional use) via the Creative Archive. Further information on the terms of the Creative Archive licence can be obtained from Director, Creative Archive. See: http://creativearchive.bbc.co.uk.

If anyone sees a site or domain name which is exploiting BBC programme or other material they should contact the Litigation and Brand Enforcement Department before taking any action. A lawyer will then advise on whether action can be taken and discuss how best to proceed.

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