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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12195
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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A Scottish public authority provides free internet access to

Customer Question

A Scottish public authority provides free internet access to the public via computers at various public buildings. Could that public authority be legally liable for breach of copyright if members of the public access/watch/download/take copies of TV and film content which is subject to copyright, and if so how? Should the public authority obtain a Licence from the Motion Picture Licensing Company Limited to ensure that it complies with copyright in relation to what the public may do on the computers, for example what the public may view on uTube?
The public authority has Terms of Use which computer users must accept prior to accessing the Internet and they oblige users not to do anything illegal or in breach of copyright. The restrictions/blocks on the public's access to the internet are minimal (to ensure that the public get the maximum benefit of the internet) and so the public is able to access copyrighted material eg.via uTube or other sites.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
If the local authority are causing and permitting users to breach copyright and other laws relating to music, for example, then the copyright licence holder could take action or the various agencies could do so such a CLA, PPL, PRS etc so you are quite right about this.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much for your reply, I appreciate your help.
What I need to establish is the legal basis for the public authority to be liable if members of the public watch films or TV in breach of copyright on the public authority's computers. The public authority does not allow that under its Terms of Use of its computers but it is technically possible for such material to be accessed. Is there a specific provision of the Copyright Designs and Patents Acy 1988 that the public authority could be breaching if its computers are being used by the public in a way that breaches copyright in relation to films and TV (even though such use of the computers would be in breach of the public authority's Terms of Use for its computers)?
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
You should read Chapter 2 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. That deals with the subject of copyright infringement.
Any queries come back to me.