Films and broadcasts


Copyright in films belongs to the main creators: director, producer, author of the screenplay or dialogue, composer of the music. It lasts 70 years after the death of the last surviving contributor. If the film has a soundtrack, not specifically composed for it, then there may also be separate copyright in the recorded music (see our music page for further information).

Films can be complex works to seek copyright permission for due to the multiple copyright owners. If you need to seek permission it is advisable to contact the producer or production company of the film in the first instance.  

Permitted use

  • Under exceptions to copyright law, such as criticism or review, you may copy and include short excerpts from films in your work. This is subject to fair dealing and should only be as much as is necessary for the purpose of use.
  • Staff can play commercial films, videos or DVDs to classes of registered students for educational purposes (Section 34, CPDA). The audience must only consist of staff and students. These cannot be copied, digitised or used in any other way. 
  • The Educational Recording Agency Licence (ERA) allows the recording of films broadcast on free to air channels for use in teaching. The licence allows us to subscribe to Box of Broadcasts (BoB) service which staff and students can use to record and share recordings. See below for further details.

TV Broadcasts

Copyright in broadcasts normally lasts for 50 years from the year in which it was first broadcast.  

The University has an Educational Recording Agency Licence (ERA) which allows staff to record and show off-air recordings of free-to-air radio and TV broadcasts for non-commercial educational purposes.  It covers broadcasts from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, E4 and Channel 5 and other ERA members. For further information see University Licences.

The ERA licence allows us to subscribe to Box of Broadcasts (BoB), a service operated by the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC).  Staff and students can use this service to watch, record, create clips and share broadcasts with other members of the university for educational purposes. See the full conditions of use for further information of what you can do.

Material from the Internet

Films and recordings included in electronic collections and "watch again" services, cannot be freely copied. Always check the terms and conditions of use.  

Be wary of using material you find on YouTube, Google Videos and similar sites, especially material posted by someone other than the copyright owner. Remember, because material has been made available via the internet, it does not necessarily mean that it is free to copy or use.  It is always best to link to such resources rather than embed them in your materials. You should not link at all if you suspect material is infringing copyright. 

If you are in any doubt, do not copy! To seek further advice please email us


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