Section 18: The Law


Intellectual property rights include:

  • copyright
  • moral rights
  • performers' rights
  • trade marks
  • patents and designs
  • rights to prevent "passing off" and breach of confidence.

Intellectual Property lawyers in the Litigation and Intellectual Property Department (L&IP)give advice on the protection and exploitation of the BBC's intellectual property rights and on the infringement risks to the BBC of using third parties' intellectual property rights.  Litigation lawyers in that department give advice on the infringement of intellectual property rights.


Advice must be sought from the Rights, Legal & Business Affairs (RLBA) about the commissioning or clearance of copyright works for use in BBC programmes or the contracting of performers. RLBA will generally provide the contracting service and contact should be made with them in good time.


There may be circumstances where a copyright work, in which rights have not been cleared, can nevertheless be included in a programme under fair dealing or other copyright exceptions.  Anyone requiring advice on this from News and Current Affairs should contact the Intellectual Property lawyers in L&IP.  Other departments should contact RLBA.


If negative checks cast any doubt on the use of a particular programme title or associated products, should be consulted.