The row over the use of ex-EastEnders actors in a BT commercial has
provoked a fresh warning this week to agencies to make sure they avoid
the risk of a writ from the BBC when using TV actors for
The latest advice comes from the Institute of Practitioners in
Advertising and follows a letter sent to agencies by the BBC reminding
them of the dangers of copyright infringement, or passing off.
The BBC is reiterating its hardline policy after settling its dispute
with BT and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. It had threatened action over a BT
commercial in its ’friends and family’ series, which features former
EastEnders stars arranging a cast reunion.
Its letter says BBC actors cannot use the characters they play in TV
productions for advertising purposes without permission.
It also warns agencies that they risk legal action for copyright
infringement, or passing off, by producing a commercial that adopts a
BBC programme format.
Philip Circus, the IPA’s legal affairs director, said: ’Agencies using
BBC actors must make sure they are not breaking their contracts.’