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Reforming Formats: Bringing together Research and Practice

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– Post by Mr. Andrew Black (LL.B Hons, LL.M Distinction), CREATe Research Assistant, University of Edinburgh

Television viewers around the world have either watched or are familiar with local versions of hit television shows such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, Strictly Come Dancing, and, Idols. Formats such as these are widely traded in a global format market that is estimated to be worth billions a year. Individual formats have been reported to have been licensed for fees that can reach into seven figure sums. Such success, however, occurs despite the fact that the copyright law framework of most nations offers no direct legal protection for the formats themselves.

Berlin Photos from HIIG (9)Against this backdrop I recently had the pleasure of attending a workshop held in Berlin which aimed to bring together research and practice on this topic. The workshop, organized in Berlin jointly by CREATe and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), brought together leading academics and practitioners to explore the field over the course of two days. Speakers shared a mix of practical and academic perspectives on the changing production of formats, their protection, and the value of an international comparative approach to exploring both.

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