Déja vu again

IT IS ALMOST a year since the "Alliance for Protection of Copyright" signed an agreement with the main terrestrial broadcasting organisations aimed at stopping rip-offs of original ideas and programme proposals. Now we want to know: is it working?

The agreement established a Code of Practice for the "fair and honest" treatment of a wide range of creative material, including formats, scripts, outlines, storylines, artwork and synopses.

Now the unions and creators' organisations that agreed the deal want to check if it is living up to its intentions. The main union involved, BECTU, will be holding a meeting with the broadcasters this spring to assess the implementation of the Code.

There has long been a problem with journalists and other creators putting up ideas to television companies, only to see the same ideas become ratings hits -- for someone else who simply stole the notion and ran with it.

And because there is no copyright in an idea, unscrupulous people have often got away with it.

The Code of Practice recognises the value of TV ideas and sets out a procedure to minimise the risk of rip-offs. It covers BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5, and the independent producers who supply them.

The NUJ would like to hear from any members who supply ideas, formats, etc for TV if they have had any problems in this area since the agreement was signed last April. Contact me -- also if you would like a copy of the agreement.

Mar/Apr 2000
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Last modified: 07 Feb 2000
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