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Intellectual Property at Festivals

Written by Sam O'Toole on 05 September 2015

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You are in a field with 90,000 other people and the Libertines are playing on the main stage, you are at Reading Festival, your thoughts are making sure you don’t miss Mumford & Sons, and not spilling your cider!

At Lawdit naturally our thoughts are with the intellectual property (IP) aspect of a festival, we will save the cider for another day! As IP is a valuable asset and may be exploited in a number of ways.

IP can be used to protect the festival and the festival goers. A trade mark is a badge of origin, therefore when you see the ‘Reading Festival’ trade mark, you know that it is going to be the same festival that Kurt Cobain took to the stage in a wheelchair in 1992.

Trade marks also play a key role at the bar. When deciding upon your drink, you might see a brands trade marked logo, and decide to have a pint of the same cider you enjoy in your local pub.

The strategic use of IP can create significant revenues, such as the sale of the broadcasting rights. Glastonbury Television manages Glastonbury Festivals copyright protected archive. Broadcasters are expected to agree upon a commercial licence to use the material, the licence would usually involve a fee being paid along with an onscreen credit.

What about all those selfies you took at the festival, who owns the IP? The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states that copyright can subsist in an artistic work, an artistic work includes a photograph irrespective of artistic quality. Thus if you took the selfie you most probably own the copyright found in the picture, although many events expressly state that photographs and videos are not to be used for commercial purposes, so you probably won’t be able to sell it.

Ensuring that an events IP policy is properly executed is paramount to protecting the events brand, the artists and the public. It would be advised to establish a written contract with all parties concerned, this can take the form of a licence, accreditation agreement or a performer’s release form.  

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Michael Coyle quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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