Game show formats and reality TV shows like Love Island and Big Brother have been extremely popular not only in the UK, but also internationally. Format rights are therefore important both commercially and creatively, however, since a TV format is essentially an idea for a TV programme, it is difficult to protect it as copyright works (as copyright does not protect ideas).
In the UK, TV formats can potentially be subject to copyright protection as:
However, there have been quite a few court cases where the format creators failed to establish copyright protection in the formats they pitched to TV studios. Therefore, copyright, on its own, is not always the best mechanism for protecting format rights.
We recommend using various intellectual property and contractual rights and taking the following practical steps to maximise your TV format protections:
If you developed an idea for a TV show or a TV series and you have questions on how best to protect it or if you have any questions on copyright and other intellectual property rights, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 72886003.
Written by Anastasia Troshkova.
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