Diane Hamer: BBC intellectual property lawyer

posted by Steve Bowbrick

And we’re off. For my second meeting Nick took me to meet Diane Hamer, a top BBC copyright lawyer (her business card says ‘Trade Mark Lawyer’ but she’s more general than that). We chatted about the challenges for intellectual property in the digital era and for the BBC in particular (and Nick bought me a super-expensive blueberry smoothie: your licence fee in action).

Diane’s day-to-day concerns are with defending the BBC’s rights in the content it creates but also with defending the BBC’s values as embodied in the brand and in the content itself. These are significant challenges and many issues are evidently unique to the BBC.

We talked a bit about Backstage and the Backstage licence and I remembered Azeem Azhar’s BBC Public Licence from a few years back. I also talked a bit about the way the geeks have been innovating furiously around IP for some decades now: forking new and interesting licence regimes more-or-less all the time. From Stallman‘s fundamentalist GPL to the more permissive semi-commercial versions of Open Source offered by the big vendors, via hybrids from Apache and Mozilla et al. I wondered why we haven’t seen such innovation in content rights…

I also mentioned a piece I wrote on my own blog a couple of months ago in which I urged a more active stance from the BBC and suggested that the Corporation might even take up the role of ‘rights activist’ in the dialogue with content creators and users: inventing and promoting new digital-era rights models and pushing for change to the old ones where they are self-evidently broken.

I also wondered if the BBC had such a thing as a ‘Rights Lab’, analogous to the various experimental and R&D groups that exist here: a group that might devise and test new rights models in laboratory conditions or even on live content. That would be interesting wouldn’t it?

So, no conclusions, no grand plans to overturn the industrial-era rights regime, just an interesting chat about copyright, branding and content. More to come, I’m sure.


Comments so far.

  1. Posted by Ed on Thursday 2nd October

    You’ve not actually mentioned anything Diane said to you. You’ve only told us what you asked (or wondered)…

  2. Posted by Roo Reynolds on Thursday 2nd October

    “I also wondered if the BBC had such a thing as a ‘Rights Lab’, analogous to the various experimental and R&D groups … That would be interesting wouldn’t it?”

    It would. Is there one?

  3. Posted by Peter Schübel on Friday 3rd October

    Just wanted to note that there IS something like an equivalent to open source licenses for content: Creative Commons. http://creativecommons.org/

  4. Posted by Steve Bowbrick on Sunday 5th October

    I don’t think so. No word of one yet.

  5. Posted by Peter Schübel on Tuesday 7th October

    there is a variety of possibilities to licence your content using Creative Commons:

    “some rights reserved”

  6. Posted by Steve Bowbrick on Wednesday 8th October

    Peter Schubel (I really have no idea how to get an umlaut out of this PC keyboard!), I must quickly acknowledge that you are quite right to mention Creative Commons but then qualify that by saying a) CC is actually still a geek innovation, although it is of course applicable anywhere and b) CC has essentiially ZERO traction outside of the tech community and a few isolated public service entities (like the BBC with /music) and is thus barely comparable with open source in the code community which is now an accepted, mainstream practice…

  7. Posted by no win no fee solicitors on Monday 26th January

    great tips. I enjoyed reading this

  8. Posted by Gabriel Ellis on Tuesday 25th May

    Most countries in the third world never respects intellectual property rights. piracy is so rampant in asian countries.`::

  9. Posted by Gabriella Adams on Friday 23rd July

    intellectual property is not really respected in most countries in asia where piracy is so rampant.”:’

  10. Posted by Rebecca Murphy on Thursday 9th September

    there are so many intellectual property and copyright violations these days:,.

  11. Posted by Melatonin Side Effects ` on Tuesday 12th October

    intellectual property is not observed by poor countries in the third world, in fact they like piracy’”.

  12. Posted by Scaffolding Boards : on Sunday 24th October

    intellectual property is always a concern these days because of the very fast update in technology*”

  13. Posted by Lily Walker on Thursday 16th December

    in China, they do not respect intellectual property at all. too many software and movie pirates out there ‘-.

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