Copyright Protection for TV Program Format


Copyright Protection for TV Program Format
Ruey-Hsing Chang
TV Program Format, Idea/Expression Dichotomy, Copyright Plagiarism, Compilation Works, Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co.
International licensing of TV program formats is worth hundreds of billions of
dollars. The lack of legal consequences for plagiarizing another’s program format
naturally leads to a great tendency to engage in copyright infringement. Most international
courts support that an advanced published TV program format which is
definitely not a simple idea but a more concrete expression is eligible for copyright
protection because of its high resource investment and strong economic incentive
for creators. This article argues that if an creative compilation of “facts” can be
protected, according to the US Supreme Court Case in Feist Publications v. Rural
Telephone Service Co., an creative compilation of “ideas” must also be worthy of
protection. Along with analyzing international cases and Idea/Expression Dichotomy,
this article concludes that if creativity and specificity is shown in a TV program
format by applying creative selection and arrangement of what idea to
include or exclude and the audience can easily sort out the TV program itself as the same serial of program by recognizing the specificity of structure, sequence, organization
and style, copyright protection shall apply to the TV program format.
Abstract Article



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