Round-up of Media News from August 2008
18 August 2008
IPO Consultation on European Commission’s Proposals to Extend Copyright Term for Sound Recordings
UK Intellectual Property Office is inviting comments on the European Commission’s recent proposal to extend the period of copyright protection for sound recordings from 50 to 95 years. Comments must be submitted to the IPO by the end of August 2008.
DCMS Consultation on Implementation of Audio-Visual Media Services Directive
The AVMS Directive (2007/65/EC) revised and updated the Television Without Frontiers Directive (89/552/EEEC). It came into force on 19 December 2007 and must be implemented by member states by 19 December 2009.
The consultation covers four areas contained in the AVMS Directive:
Extension of the AVMS directive to video-on–demand (VOD) services
The government is keen to ensure that only those services which include programmes similar to those already available via television broadcast services are caught by the new regulations.
A regulatory body will need to draw up and enforce codes of practice for providers of VOD services. The government favours a co-regulatory approach by OFCOM and a co-regulator appointed by OFCOM.
Advertising in VOD services
The Directive requires advertising to be regulated where images "accompany or are included within a programme".
The consultation discusses the different nature of advertising on the internet, where adverts do not sit within programmes (as with conventional TV advertising) but appear on screen regardless of the programme selected because the viewer has chosen a particular VOD service. There is discussion of the possible interpretations of "accompany or are included within a programme" and the government would prefer to regulate adverts in relation to the service being accessed rather than in relation to adverts that appear within or adjacent to programmes.
Various options for the appointment of a regulator are mooted and the favoured route is for the Advertising Standards Authority to be the regulator as it currently is for TV broadcast advertising.
Prohibition on product placement except for certain types of programming
The government wishes to ban product placement in all types of programming and rejects arguments that it would add realism to programmes as the Broadcasting Code already allows branded products where justified by the editorial context.
It is noted that product placement must be banned in children’s and news programmes even if they have been bought in from outside the UK.
The recent premium rate phone-in scandals are also used by the government to argue that broadcasters need to rebuild viewers’ trust.
The government wishes to continue to allow "prop placement". The AVMS Directive provides that a "significant value" must be set for such goods and services (above which their use becomes product placement).
UK jurisdiction over non-EU satellite TV channels broadcast into EU member states by means of uplinks in the UK
The preferred method to enforce this new jurisdiction over non-EU channels is to require the broadcasters in question to be licensed and to be subject to the OFCOM Broadcasting Code and to pay a licence fee.
Comments on the Consultation must be submitted by 31 October 2008, see here for full text of the Consultation.
"Production Company Vision Awards"-New £1.5m Fund
This new initiative is part of the Development Fund and offers up to £150,000 over two years to up to ten production companies developing feature films.
Applicants must have produced at least one feature film that has been distributed theatrically in the UK and screened internationally in at least one major territory in the last five years.
The production company’s principals must have received individual producer credits on at least two other feature films that have been distributed theatrically.
Applications must be in by 6pm on 19 September 2008. Detailed guidance notes can be found at the link below and application forms are available from the UK Film Council website.
Sponsorship-The Future of Film Funding…?
Shane Meadows’ latest film "Somers Town", winner of the Best New British Feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival, was entirely financed by Eurostar.
The link to the sponsor comes from the title and setting of the film as Somers Town, an area of inner London, is the location of the new channel tunnel rail terminal.
Product placement in films is of course nothing new and this film takes the concept a step further with the sponsor funding the whole production. As traditional television and print advertising reaches fewer numbers, companies are seeking new ways of reaching out to audiences and we may see an increasing number of novel financing methods for TV and film production.
© Davenport Lyons 2008. All rights reserved.
This document reflects the law and practice as at August 2008. It is general in nature, and does not purport in any way to be comprehensive or a substitute for specialist legal advice in individual circumstances.