The legal protection of creative ideas.

For discussion, see Linda Gage, A Guide to Commercial Radio Journalism, 1990, Oxford: Focal Press.

Radio station's 'needle time'

Performing Right Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL)


 You have to log all copyright material (especially music and some effects) if the piece is intended for broadcast.
 WHAT TO DO - Your Log: List the CD, the CD number, the track, the artist, composer, duration of the excerpt.
You have to make a copyright statement covering all relevent material. 

AS A RADIO STUDENT: You have to make a copyright statement for every radio project.

Copyright does NOT apply to Laboratory pieces (not for broadcast).

Copyright DOES apply to any piece if it is played (though not broadcast) to an audience, e.g., a school class.

You have to research the copyright rules here. 


 If the material in question is a commercially published disc or tape, whether it is the Eminem or Luciano Pavarotti, you have to record the title, author, publisher, disc or tape number, and the duration of what was played on air.

It is on the basis of this information that the two main societies of copyright owners assess and collect royalties in order to redistribute the money among those who own the copyright.

The societies are the Performing Right Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), and they also determine each station's 'needle time' (what proportion of air time can be given over to playing records), and how much the royalties should cost for that needle time.


Location Release Form (internet)

There are some other copyright problems as well:

Music in radio drama:

Rosemary Horstmann, Writing for Radio, 1991, London: A & C Black.

"Music in the background adds another hazard - that of copyright. If you are not able to provide full details of composer, performers and recording label of any music heard on your tape it may be impossible to clear copyright, and consequently impossible to broadcast it. A cautionary example is the song 'Happy birthday to you'. This is in copyright, and a fee is payable every time it is broadcast."

"Before embarking on making a radio adaptation of an existing work it is as well to check on two important points. Firstly, is the writer of the book, play or story still alive? If so, will he be happy for you to adapt his work? He may well wish to do so himself. If he has died within the past fifty years, copyright clearance will have to be negotiated with the heirs of his estate. If you belong to the Society of Authors they will be able to establish the copyright situation for you. It is unlikely that you, as the writer, will have to foot the bill for copyright payments; this will be the responsibility of the broadcasting company. It is wise, however, for you to be fully informed as to whether copyright negotiations will be necessary before you put up your script proposal."

Interviewing clips - and there is music playing in the background, under the interviewee:

Jim Beaman, Interviewing for Radio, 2000, London: Routledge

"As well as causing you problems when it comes to editing the interview because the music is part of the background noise, they may also demand a performance fee, and you could have copyright problems."

To find CD logging information:

Go onto internet (or .net or .com)

This is the CD Database.

If for broadcast, you probably should respect BBC Editorial Guidelines



 PRE-PRODUCTION - producer - auditions - casting - planning - budgets - time line - script - playwright - production in studio & OB

PRODUCER - responsible for the business side of radio drama production, budgets, contracts, delivering the product





This site is 'Radio Drama - directing, acting, technical, learning & teaching, researching, styles, genres'. See INDEX to navigate also.  Complete curriculum of scripts, techniques (acting & directing & post-production & genre styles), advice, sound files - effects and atmoses (with no copyright and so free to use), detailed script commentaries, etc.


Academic material on this site is Creative Commons License Alan Beck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Learn about radio drama on this site along with my book - Beck, Alan, Radio Acting, London: A & C Black ISBN 0-7136-4631-4 Available on Amazon. CLICK HERE.

To the WELCOME PAGE for Alan Beck's sites. See more of Alan Beck's work.


Any opinions expressed in this site are the personal opinions of the owner of the site. IF YOU HAVE COMMENTS, PLEASE EMAIL TO :

More on copyright and further information concerning radio
Page provided by GoFTP FREE