HomeInsightsIntellectual Property Office publishes final post-implementation review of the removal in 2016 of the copyright exception for showing publicly accessible films

Section 72 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) creates an exception to copyright infringement that permits the free showing of a broadcast and certain copyright elements within that broadcast to audiences who have not paid for admission to the place where the broadcast is shown..  The other copyright elements used to include films.

In June 2021, the IPO launched a call for views on the changes that were made to s 72 of the CDPA in 2016 by the Copyright (Free Public Showing or Playing) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, which removed “film” from the list of exceptions, with the result that permission was needed to show films included within the broadcast. This legislation was made following a series of court judgments, including a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). These obliged the UK to amend s 72 and ensure it was consistent with EU law. Essentially, the changes were made to oblige pubs to pay the correct commercial licences to subscription-based sports channels, and to provide greater clarity on the law in this area.

The June 2021 call for views was part of a post implementation review of the Regulations, which the Secretary of State was obliged to do within five years of the legislation coming into force.  The IPO sought evidence and views on the effect of the changes to s 72. The IPO also held a series of roundtable meetings with rights holders, rights holder representatives, licensing bodies and copyright users. The IPO received 12 written submissions from stakeholders, ten of which were from rights holders or organisations representing rights holders. The IPO has now published the final post-implementation review of the legislation.

Overall, the information gathered pointed to a broad consensus amongst respondents that the original aims of the Regulations remain relevant and are efficient. Consequently, many stakeholders supported their retention. The change has had the effect of both adding clarity to the law and removing an exception but has also stimulated licensing demands. This has impacted copyright users, however, as TVs have been removed from certain public access and work areas.

Going forward, the IPO will monitor and evaluate licensing activities, paying particular attention to the impacts on copyright users, through stakeholder engagement. It will also be issuing updated guidance to give copyright users more clarity over licensing requirements, such as how licence prices are calculated and what uses licences cover.

The final recommendation from the review is to keep the 2016 legislation in place. To access the review, click here.