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BBC Points to Geoblocking in Bid to Defeat Lawsuit Over Use of ‘Cosby Show’ Clips

16 January 2018

From The Hollywood Reporter:

When Carsey-Werner Company filed a copyright lawsuit in November against the BBC and Sugar Films Limited over the use of clips from The Cosby Show in a documentary titled Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon, many commentators expected the case to turn on fair use. Not necessarily so.

On Thursday, BBC followed Sugar Films by telling a judge the case should be dismissed because no actionable infringement could possibly have taken place within a California federal court’s jurisdiction.

“The program was intended for broadcast in the U.K. and in fact was broadcast by BBC only in the U.K. and never in the United States,” states BBC’s motion. “For a one-month period after its initial broadcast on BBC2, Fall was available to be viewed in the U.K. via the BBC’s iPlayer Internet-based service. Due to ‘geoblocking’ or other technological means, only those within the U.K. had the ability readily to view the program using iPlayer during that one-month window. Anyone viewing Fall outside of the U.K. did so without the authorization of Defendants Sugar Films and BBC. At no time did Defendants authorize Fall to be made available to viewers in the United States, via regular broadcast, iPlayer or any other means.”

. . . .

[W]ithout BBC having purposefully directed the documentary to U.S. audiences, Carsey-Werner will need to convince U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson why this case involving a broadcaster based in the U.K. should be fought in California.

Link to the rest at The Hollywood Reporter

Copyright/Intellectual Property

4 Comments to “BBC Points to Geoblocking in Bid to Defeat Lawsuit Over Use of ‘Cosby Show’ Clips”

  1. Hmm, if they’re playing it that way (instead of fair use) does that mean they’ll next say it okay to sell other people’s work so long as they only sell it in the UK?

    Of course maybe we should agree to this – there’s no way this type of thinking can possibly come back to bite them – right? 😉

    • Haha. If they decide it’s okay because they only used in the UK, how soon will we be able to publish all our Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fanfic for money–as long as we limit it to the US market?

    • They’re not saying it’s OK to sell other people’s work in the UK. They’re saying that they can’t be taken to court for it in California.

  2. They’re going for a quick open and shut case based on jurisdiction. No need to argue tbe merits if they say they need to be sued in the UK.
    Fair point.
    A good counterpoint to French and Canadian courts trying to apply their laws beyond their borders.

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