Financial Crime Broadcasting

About Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property is a very complex area. This document is a simplified overview. It is not to be considered as definitive nor as legal advice.

The term "intellectual property" encompasses law relating to patents, trade marks and copyright.


Patents are registered rights which protect inventors or (in most countries) industrial or other processes in physical items.
In the USA so-called "software patents" are allowed. The USA is trying to compel other countries to adopt an equivalent system but, so far, without significant success. Patents are also used for new techniques in, for example, pharmaceuticals and agribusiness such as seed development.

A patent must be novel and not previously known to the public. Patents are registered in individual jurisdictions but may be recognised in other jurisdictions depending on mutual recognition agreements.

A patent gives the patent holder the right to "exploit" his patent for a period, usually ten years. A patent holder may sell or licence to a third party rights under the patents.

Trade Marks

Trade marks fall into two categories: registered and unregistered.

Trade Marks may be registered at a central registry in each jurisdiction. There is some mutual recognition between jurisdictions but it is not extensive. One of the reasons for this is that Trade Marks originated in a time long before international brands. The other is that Trade Mark registries can be a source of considerable revenue. Trade Marks Registries are jealously protected by jurisdictions. However, there is logic to this localised approach. For example, when a long-established business finds that a global brand enters its market and tries to claim rights in - as has often happened - a family's name.

Trade Mark protection is in the hands of the Courts. A name or a device (logo) is the subject of the Trade Mark. Trade Marks are, when registered, restricted to a particular "trade." So it's fine to have McDougall the baker down the road from McDougall the butcher.

Unregistered Trade Marks. Registering Trade Marks is a time consuming and expensive activity. Therefore many businesses establish their use of (but not necessarily rights to) a brand or device (logo) by the simple affixation of the letters TM. This makes, in effect, a trademark at Common Law ("in effect" means that it's not exactly what happens). It does, however, establish the use of the name or logo which a Court might find is sufficient to establish a brand, sufficient to prevent someone else claiming exclusive rights.

Perhaps it's worth mentioning quasi Trade Marks. This is an area of law which is very undefined, in part because it is not clear which jurisdiction's law should be applied. Without going into detail, there is a live issue as to whether an internet domain should be considered a trade mark. Obviously, if one registers it, as with, which is the name of its company, then it is but the tens of millions of other domains don't do that because the domain is not the same as their company name.

It is perhaps a better argument that the part of the domain name that appears before the dot is protected as art and therefore someone replicating a unique name and adding a different domain level extension (.com, .net, .cc etc) is acting in breach of that copyright.

What this means is that our content creators are a brand and are entitled to represent themselves as such and to protect their name in the market. How that is done is something you should get specialist advice on.


This is the area that is of most interest to 'casters and listeners.

The basic principle of copyright is that it is owned by the originator of a work which can be a design, words or music.

The copyright holder is entitled to exploit his work during his lifetime and his estate is entitled to exploit it for a period after his death. Different countries apply different periods.

Copyrights can be transferred but their expiry date is not renewed by transfer.

However, copyrights can be, effectively, without end if they are created by, or commissioned by, a company because, without the intervention of legal process, companies don't die.

This is why music companies agree with song-writers that the company will own the rights to a song and will pay royalties to the musician or his estate as long as the copyrighted material generates income.

'casters should therefore consider carefully who owns the copyright in 'casts. Is it the company that employs them or is it the individuals behind it.

There are three aspects to the copyright in recordings:

1. The performance i.e. the person or persons whose voice is heard.

2. The content i.e. the words that are spoken

3. The mechanical copyright: that is the actual recording.

It follows, then, that if you include in your 'cast music or effects produced by a third party that third party has rights in that music or effects.

There is no copyright in ideas, only in form (although it has to be said that some Courts, especially in relation to music), seem to be determined to bend the line and not always in the same direction). Also, there is no copyright in facts.

Copyright in relation to content, then, relates to the expression of ideas and facts.

In relation to mechanical copyright, this relates to who owns the recording or, the printing.

Both of the above forms of copyright require the payment of royalties if used.

Performance copyright has, traditionally, not resulted in payment of royalties despite the fact that it is the form of expression that is most likely to result in the success or otherwise of e.g. a song. This is why filming is banned at concerts; when an official film is made, that attracts artistic copyright for the performer. Bizarre but true. Also, because that recording is, often, under the control of the artists, at least as collaborators, the artists share in the mechanical copyright.

In 2020, Facebook, a social media conglomerate including facebook, instagram and other platforms and messaging systems, deleted accounts which included videos of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, saying that such postings breached the intellectual property rights of the broadcasters which had entered into exclusive (per jurisdiction) contracts with the organisers.

In the case of 'casts, the situation can be as simple or as complex as you like. You can separate ownership of the content and the recording.

Our position is that you are the publisher; we are the conduit you choose to reach a broader market. We don't pay royalties but we do provide a mechanism, through HonourPay, for your listeners to say Thank You.

For listeners

The basic principle is that you are welcome to share the link to a 'cast page but you must not download the text or the 'cast file. Those are subject to the intellectual property rights of the owner. You must not rebroadcast, must not repost and must not incorporate into any other work either the sound or the words in the 'cast or the text.

So, keep it simple: listen to the 'cast and read the script and return to the page whenever you want.