The legal team at Denton Hall lawyers in London have written ‘Multimedia: Contracts, Rights and Licensing’ in an attempt to clarify the complex and changing world of legal rights and obligations when setting forth into the multimedia industry. The book sets out to elucidate what multimedia is and where it has come from and goes […]
The legal team at Denton Hall lawyers in London have written ‘Multimedia: Contracts, Rights and Licensing’ in an attempt to clarify the complex and changing world of legal rights and obligations when setting forth into the multimedia industry. The book sets out to elucidate what multimedia is and where it has come from and goes on to look at British, European and some international political issues that affect these new media. The basics of British, European Union and international law as well as the differences between them are covered, giving a grounding in the relevant legal issues. The book takes this one step further, tackling the issues raised when new media such as the Internet cross international jurisdictions and as an example l ooks at the efforts of the European Community to harmonize aspects of intellectual property law. And where there are no precise answers, it points the reader in the direction he needs to go to ensure he’s not stepping on any copyright toes. It helps guide the reader through the array of content regulating bodies. This can be complicated because each body traditionally controls content carried in a specific medium, such as television or telephony.
By Abigail Waraker
But because multimedia brings together these traditionally separate media, delivering television entertainment across telephone lines, a dedicated regulatory regime does not apply. While these institutions and related laws have yet to converge to a unified regulatory regime for the multimedia industry, the authors give indications of which legal requirements may affect which services. For example, the British Board of Film Classification, which regulates the content of films distributed in the UK, has in recent years also controlled the content of videos distributed in the UK and also responsible for classifying multimedia works on CD-ROM or similar disk formats. There are some grey areas too. The UK Independent Television Commission, wh ich licenses and regulates commercially-funded television services, recently put out a paper stating that while Internet services may fall within the definitions of the Broadcasting Act of 1990, the Commission has not so far considered it necessary to institute arrangements for enforcement of licensing over Internet services. Finally, just to complete the picture, the authors include tips on the less formal side of using the Internet – the Netiquette of what you can and can’t get away with – just in case newcomers get ‘flamed’, that is, flooded with a torrent of hostile electronic mail. Essentially the book fills a knowledge gap in the market and its only real downside is that while the information is interesting, it’s not something you’d want settle down with for a leisurely read. It contains the kind of knowledge you wish you could implant directly into your brain on a chip rather than have to go through the process of concentrating hard to read it. Multimedia: Contracts, Right s and Licensing by Alan Williams, Duncan Callow and Andrew Lee, is published by FT Law & Tax of London.