“Cifras & Letras” Performers or presenters?

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Copyright does not protect ideas, principles, or methods. This is a widely accepted and well-known principle, which is even recognised in various international treaties and conventions such as the TRIP’S or the WCT. But are appearances on TV programmes subject to protection?


The answer to this question is the one that gave rise to the Madrid Provincial Court’s ruling last November, in relation to the participation of a person as an expert or juror in the well-known TV programme “Cifras y Letras” (“Numbers & Letters”, the Spanish adaptation of the French original Des chiffres et des lettres). This is a question-and-answer programme in which contestants are asked about language and literature (“letters”) and mathematics (“numbers”). After their answers, an expert acting as a jury accepts or refuses the contestant’s answer. It is therefore a TV quiz show, governed by a certain format and subject to a script which both the presenter and the rest of the contestants must prepare and follow throughout their participation in the programme.


One of these experts claims to AISGE (the Collective Management Organization that manages the intellectual property rights of actors, voiceover actors, dancers, and stage directors in Spain) for the remuneration generated by his participation in the TV Programme, as per the right to remuneration for public communication that the Spanish Copyright Act recognises to performers. This Claim was refused by AISGE who considered that the expert could not be considered as a performer.

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