Campaign Craft: Column - Wise directors will take note of copyright changes

On 1 December 1996, one of the best kept legal secrets of the past few months slipped quietly into force. The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations Act 1996 implemented parts of three European Union Directives signed off by the EU in 1992/3.

On 1 December 1996, one of the best kept legal secrets of the past

few months slipped quietly into force. The Copyright and Related Rights

Regulations Act 1996 implemented parts of three European Union

Directives signed off by the EU in 1992/3.



This has introduced a clutch of rules and regulations, some of which

make an impact directly on advertising. For instance, film directors

who, up until now, have had only the ’moral right’ to object to

derogatory ’treatment’ of their work and demand that their name goes on

the credits, now also hold copyright for their work.



All films, including ads, will now have two copyright owners: the

production company - which has historically been the sole copyright

owner - and the director.



Directors will be able to sue in respect of unauthorised broadcasts,

showings, rentals or copying of any films they directed after 30 June

1994 unless it is proved that the broadcasting, showing renting or

copying is happening under a contract signed before 19 November

1992.



In February last year, the Advertising Film and Videotape Producers

Association told the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising that all

AFVPA members had been advised to obtain a full assignment of their

copyright from their director ’as a priority.’



On the strength of this, and the production company’s obligation in the

standard contract to insure against copyright infringement claims and

identify the agency if it were sued by a director, the IPA advised

agency members there was no need for the standard contract to be

amended.



The IPA did point out, however, that agencies with any doubts at all

about a production company’s AFVPA membership, or about the contractual

position generally, should check ad directors had signed over the

copyright.



One of the things directors who have not given away their copyright can

now sue over is unauthorised ’rental’ of their work. An automatic right

to ’equitable remuneration’ for performers and directors, exerciseable

in respect of rentals after 31 March 1997, has been introduced.



In most cases, a combination of statutory presumptions and provisions in

existing contracts should ensure agencies are not assailed with demands

for additional payments across the board, but all those entering into

production contracts from now should take account of this and other

legal wolves dressed up in the sheep’s clothing of this dull-sounding

piece of legislation.