Research Output

Too Much Drama Defining Film in UK Copyright Law

  In Norowzian v Arks Ltd. (No.2) the Court of Appeal determined that the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 protects films as dramatic works. What, conceptually and in practice, this means is not clear. This article examines and compares the history of film with the definitions of film in the Berne Convention and UK copyright laws to argue that practical and legal definitions of film were already diverging when the Copyright Act 1911 was enacted. It contends the continuing divergence between film and its legal classification in copyright law develops from the underscoring aesthetic theory on which classifications from the 1911 Act onwards depend. Establishing the classifications in CDPA 1988 on an alternative aesthetic theory could better accommodate filmic expression.

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  • Date:

    20 October 2020

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  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Sellors, C. P. (2020). Too Much Drama Defining Film in UK Copyright Law. Journal of Media Law, 12(2),



Films; Dramatic Works; Copyright; Film History; Berne Convention

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