Affordable Access

Television Format – Enjoy the comfort off copyright or is there a new direction for tv-protection? The IP-system from WIPO in regards to the articles in the UNHR

Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen
Publication Date
  • Immaterialrätt
  • Public International Law
  • International Law)
  • Criminal Law
  • Media
  • Intellectual Property
  • Un
  • Wipo
  • Television
  • Television Format
  • Expedition Robinson
  • Survivor
  • American Idol
  • Big Brother
  • Gunnar Karnell
  • Albert Moran
  • Law And Political Science
  • Communication
  • Law
  • Musicology


This thesis is about television formats and the main question if there is a need for a stronger protection than today. My reason to write about the television format that it combines two interesting areas of knowledge. The mix of media- communications and the law. It is also a question of practical aspects, what does the television business want and the theoretical side of it, what can be with law as the tool. One important aspect is to look how the copyright correspond with the United Nations perspective of law. The television format is new to the legal world, but the television phenomena existed since 1950s with start in the US. The method I have chosen is pure academic, the facts and analysis is built from studies in legal journals, doctrine and judgments by the courts world over. The thesis starts in chapter four with a short introduction what television format is. A television format is a written or recorded idea in how to make a television show, with live and fiction segments. The characteristics feature for the show is called elements. Known television format today is Survivor and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Most company’s works after an outline called the production bible. It is a notebook with all the production details of the show. Today it is more or less a standard in the industry. Due to the detailed information, many believe that the idea, the television format is protected. This question is more complicated and it will be more elaborated in later chapters. The television format industry is at present time a multibillion dollar business where the US and Great Britain is the greatest production nations. To no surprise, they also lead the work for a stronger protection. The work started in 1994 when legal academics Shelley Lane and Richard Mc Bridge wrote a critical article and asked why the legislation had not come any further. I’ll define what television is and how it’s been formed in national and international law. The traditional take is that television format show is that is based upon an ideas and those has never been protected in copyright law. There is several different definitions to the format. Karnell is the first that tried to define the television format in a legal term. He offers a ‘wholeness’ perspective on the format and writes about factors that makes the show unique from others. Gough emphasize the style and arrangements of the elements in the show. Moran and Malbon has a more pragmatically approach and lists several points that all are used in making a television show. Chapter five discusses already copyrighted parts in a television format, i.e. the music, that is copyrighted as a musical work. It also answers the position of the production bible. Within the doctrine and the courts other models has been promoted, as passing off, copy as two examples Chapter six gives an overview over the international conventions that has formed the international copyright, the Berne Convention but also the WTO, WPPT and the Trips Convention. Chapter seven discusses the Human Rights roles in the discussion and the relation between UN and WIPO, critics and solutions for new developments. The organization Frapa has been formed, with purpose to see if copyright is enough or are there other alternatives. In chapter eight there is an overview from the biggest cases, during the past twenty years, by courts all over the world with presenting principles. Opportunity Knocks Case that came in 1988 was the first case that did try if the television format has a copyright. The answer was negative and it should take yet another fourteen years until the courts came back with a positive response, this time in Brazil. The analysis in chapter nine deals with my own opinion.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times