Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wants to Use Charlie Rose Clip

photo: David Shankbone
Dear Rich: A friend has made a documentary film of his friend and author/NY Times reporter (and gay activist) who recently died of ALS. There is a 5 minute clip of the subject on the Charlie Rose show. I have not been able to find a copyright registration for the Charlie Rose show (public broadcasting service). We want to exhibit the film at the nonprofit Maryland Film Festival where entry tickets are sold. Would this qualify as fair use? And is the Charlie Rose Show copyrighted at all? Any help is appreciated. Yes, the Charlie Rose Show, like all PBS shows, is protected under copyright law. We believe the rights are owned by Charlie Rose LLC and you should be able to reach the proper permissions person at Charlie Rose, Inc., 731 Lexington Ave, 7th Floor, New York, NY, 10022 (or by writing to You can also read more about the terms and conditions of clips hosted at Charlie's website.
Why no registrations? If you searched copyright records and did not find any registrations for the show, that doesn't mean that the show is not protected. Registration is not a requirement for copyright protection, although it is required for a lawsuit.
Would your use qualify as a fair use? Maybe, but we doubt it. A five minute clip might be considered too long to qualify. In any case, it could prove fairly expensive to find out --  the only way to be positive is to have a court rule on the matter. We'd suggest that you peruse some fair use cases dealing with audio-visual works.