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It’s illegal to use government footage on TV for comedy/satire in the UK & Australia!

July 28th, 2011 by Rakesh Agrawal

Since our TV search technology is used by a lot of comedy TV shows (like Daily Show, Colbert Report, the Soup, Best Week Ever) to expose the follies of government and media, this news caught my eye:

Graham Linehan, an Irish TV writer, was puzzled by a missing episode of the Daily Show and so he looked further into it and discovered it was blocked from being aired for “compliance” reasons. After some back and forth with the broadcaster Channel 4, they got this answer:


@Glinner We are prevented by parliamentary rules from broadcasting parliamentary proceedings in a comedic or satrical context.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Wow, so the UK Parliament blocks people from using video of their proceedings in comedy!

More coverage and discussion of this at Graham Linehan’s blog, Boing Boing and the The New Statesman.

The funny and ironic thing is that The Daily Show segment in question (the one that breaks UK’s “no parliamentary videos used for satire” rule) is actually very positive towards the UK! You can watch it here.

Evidently, the same is true in Australia as well!

As we begin to sell SnapStream internationally, in the UK and Australia in particular (we’ll be demo’ing a DVB-T version of SnapStream at IBC in Amsterdam in about a month from now!), I wonder if we’ll bump up against this law!

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One Response to “It’s illegal to use government footage on TV for comedy/satire in the UK & Australia!”

  1. Quora Says:

    How does the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart production team search for the archived TV clips they use so effectively to expose hypocrisy, prejudice and just darn funny moments of unguarded honesty?…

    Ahem. Short answer: they use a series of SnapStream TV search appliances– a product made by my company that lets organizations (like TDS and Colbert) record lots of TV and then search inside those shows. We’re like a DVR on steroids crossed with a se…

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