What’s the Deal? Archive Producer Paul Bell talks Fair Dealing

In a packed out boardroom at the Bridgeman offices in West London, the prominent Archive Producer, of Senna and Amy fame no less, led a merry and informal discussion into the foggy world of fair dealing.

 From right to left: Kate Griffiths (2015 FOCAL archive researcher of the year) with Ray Pascoe, James Hunt and James McDonald

From right to left: Kate Griffiths (2015 FOCAL archive researcher of the year) with Ray Pascoe, James Hunt and James McDonald

Organised by FOCAL International (Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries), hosted by Bridgeman Images, and led by Paul Bell, it was a perfect combination of researchers and archive heads, getting together over a glass of wine to healthily debate the thorny subject of fair dealing, what it means in today’s post-Hargreaves 2011 licensing world, and the high risks involved in choosing to go down the fair dealing path.

Paul Gardener with Ruth Halliday and Suzanne Gray

Paul Gardener with Ruth Halliday and Suzanne Gray

The evening was kicked off by IP lawyer extraordinaire, Margaret Briffa, who gave a most engaging overview of the criteria under which one can potentially fair deal, the most recent being parody, caricature and pastiche. It was interesting to hear Margaret explain just how subjective the ultimate decision is to rule a usage as acceptable or unacceptable parody, given that the user must not jeopardise the commercial value of the piece in question. Where does the fine line lie?

IP lawyer Margaret Briffa

IP lawyer Margaret Briffa

This, along with Paul’s anecdotes from the making of Amy, during which he met a couple of typical fair dealing challenges, made for an invaluable understanding of the trickiness, the risk and the complexities of fair dealing. Is it always worth it in the end?

A few slides from Margaret’s presentation 


fair-dealing-quote-slide The new parody exception does not attempt to further define caricature, parody or pastiche but the European Court of Justice has provided some helpful guidance as to the the meaning of “parody”. For instance, in the Deckmyn v Vandersteen case where it ruled that the only essential characteristics of a parody are to evoke an existing work while being noticeably different from it; and to constitute an expression of humour or mockery.


Artist’s spoof Ladybird book provokes wrath of Penguin 

In 2014 Miriam Elia released a small book lampooning the art world, closely modelled on the Peter and Jane Ladybird reading books from the 1960s and 70s. However, when Ladybird-owner Penguin threatened Miriam with legal action, she stopped selling the book. Elia has now made some changes to the book to take advantage of that very defence for parody which came into play on the 1st October 2014 in the UK. The children are now called John and Susan, and the Ladybird logo has been replaced with a dung beetle.

'We go to the gallery,' a parody of Ladybird Books (later edition)

‘We go to the gallery,’ a parody of Ladybird Books (later edition)

Find Out More

Following this workshop, FOCAL International are looking to compile further research and guidelines on this hotly contested topic of fair dealing, working closely with archive researchers and producers whose experience in this area is key. If you would like to be informed of further developments and workshops please email Anne Johnson at info@focalint.org.

We’ve got you covered: Indemnity Insurance now available from Bridgeman 


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