Copyright law changes affecting licensed premises


21 Jun

This is a very technical area (which we will deal with at the most superficial level). The Copyright (Free Public Showing or Playing) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 were laid before Parliament on 9 May 2016 and came into force on 15 June 2016. 

This relates largely to the ‘illegal’ showing of unauthorised broadcasts in public places – and notably pubs. You will be familiar with enforcement action taken in such circumstances by Sky and/or the Premier League.

These regulations remove the reference to ‘film’ completely from Section 72 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 with the intended result that “this will:

  • Simplify and bring greater clarity to the law in this area;
  • Enable rights holders to bring enforcement action more easily; and 
  • Lead to a more level playing field for those pubs and other organisations that take out legitimate television subscription”.

In responses to the consultation which lead to these changes, those holding IP rights in such broadcasts  suggested that these changes would not necessarily lead to a change in their enforcement activity, but would improve the chances of reducing infringement by pubs using unauthorised systems to show subscription broadcasts. In reality this would seem to mean pub operators should be even more cautious in consideration of the possible use of unauthorised foreign broadcasts, even if logos are blocked and music is not played, a previous excuse which has been deployed. The change in the law is designed to prevent the use of such unauthorised broadcasts.

In case of any doubt, specialist legal advice should be sought.

Law correct at the date of publication.
Back to Latest News