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RE: [TV] ABC1 listings available

There's some similarity with the football fixture lists, which are copyright by the football league, and the football league have been taking action against fan web sites which republish a list of their club's fixtures. Thus they offer a license to print them which runs to over £250 per season I think. 

Thankfully I dont think this practise of charging/legalaction for publicly accessing information has reached tv listings as yet.


-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Flegg [mailto:andrew@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Paul Webster
Sent: 02 October 2004 11:04
To: tvdevel@xxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [TV] ABC1 listings available

> I'm not a solicitor or even have any legal training but it is my 
> understanding that the deregulation of TV listings in September 1989 
> meant that anyone can publish  tv listings. The quote below comes from 
> this reference http://www.offthetelly.co.uk/features/rt3.htm
> "In September 1989, Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, 
> displaying a typical obsession with "choice", competition, market 
> forces and deregulation, had changed the laws on television and radio 
> listings to the effect that they could no longer be exclusive to any 
> one publication, or to the broadcasters themselves."
> The radio times are publishing the links that Paul mentions as "public 
> domain" , no sign in, no subscription.
> So what "Ton of bricks" do you imagine would fall? They'd stop 
> publishing the listings? That would be self defeating. They take legal 
> action to stop the publication? I would suggest they can't because of 
> the above.
I think that the time and title are what can be republished - but I expect that the Radio Times would claim copyright over the descriptive parts. I did do a bit of research on this a while ago (I make about 100 channels of TV and radio listings available - but largely of non-UK channels) and I even downloaded the Broadcasting Act 1990 (c. 42) to try to find the relevant parts. Part IX para 176 seemed to be the relevant part. It says: "
176.-(1) A person providing a programme service to which this section applies must make available in accordance with this section information relating to the programmes to be included in the service to any person (referred to in this section and Schedule 17 to this Act as "the publisher" ) wishing to publish in the United Kingdom any such information.

    (2) The duty imposed by subsection (1) is to make available information as to the titles of the programmes which are to be, or may be, included in the service on any date, and the time of their inclusion, to any publisher who has asked the person providing the programme service to make such information available to him and reasonably requires it.

    (3) Information to be made available to a publisher under this section is to be made available as soon after it has been prepared as is reasonably practicable but, in any event-
 (a) not later than when it is made available to any other publisher, and
 (b) in the case of information in respect of all the programmes to be included in the service in any period of seven days, not later than the beginning of the preceding period of fourteen days, or such other number of days as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State by order.
    (4) An order under subsection (3) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

    (5) The duty imposed by subsection (1) is not satisfied by providing the information on terms, other than terms as to copyright, prohibiting or restricting publication in the United Kingdom by the publisher. " (there is a bit more in there - but I don't think it is relevant)

In reality ... the broadcasters generally provide the information (with some enriched content) to Broadcasting Data Services - which is a venture funded by the broadcasters. They reformat the listings and make them available (at a cost) to 3rd-parties. Individuals may also download from there (free) ... but BDS include a big statement saying: "Please Note: anyone publishing TV listings in the UK is required by law under the 1990 Broadcasting Act to pay a royalty to the relevant broadcasters. BDS collects this royalty for the broadcasters (BBC, ITVA and Channel 4).

Reproducing these TV listings without paying the appropriate royalty fee is illegal and leaves you liable to prosecution under the 1990 Broadcasting Act. " If you go say that you want to download their free listings and republish them then they say ... "Please Note: anyone publishing TV listings in the UK is required by law under the 1990 Broadcasting Act to pay a royalty to the relevant broadcasters. BDS collects this royalty for the broadcasters (BBC, ITVA and Channel 4).

I/We understand that Broadcasting Dataservices Limited is acting as agent for BBC Worldwide, the ITVA member companies and Channel 4 in the matter of issuing copyright licences and the collection of copyright licence fees.

I/We agree to pay royalty fees each quarter for the right to reproduce BBC, ITV and Channel 4 TV programme information and/or BBC radio programme information. For details of the applicable fees and authority to publish these listings please contact [snipped]

I/We understand that this payment is completely separate from charges incurred for services from any listings bureau. "

So - when I started doing my channels about 2 1/2 years ago - I contacted the broadcasters (through their web site usually) and said what I intended to do. I sometimes had no reply - but those that did reply always approved. In general - the broadcaster wants their listings to be seen by as many people as possible - but those that are trying to make a business by providing listings services (perhaps as part of a portal or as raw data to other ventures) are generally not happy to have their content reused especially if it gets republished.


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