Q&As

When licensing intellectual property rights such as copyright in the media sector, is a grant of rights ‘worldwide’ enough or should the territory ever be ‘the universe’?

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Produced in partnership with David Hansel of Hansel Henson
Published on LexisPSL on 20/04/2020

The following TMT Q&A produced in partnership with David Hansel of Hansel Henson provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • When licensing intellectual property rights such as copyright in the media sector, is a grant of rights ‘worldwide’ enough or should the territory ever be ‘the universe’?

When licensing intellectual property rights such as copyright in the media sector, is a grant of rights ‘worldwide’ enough or should the territory ever be ‘the universe’?

The universe is all of space and time and their contents, including galaxies, stars, planets and all other forms of matter and energy. While there is no international law defining where the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins, the most common definition is the Kármán line at an altitude of 100 km above sea level. In other words, the line is set somewhere between where passenger aircrafts fly and the International Space Station orbits.

The main body of international space law can be found in five international agreements, none of which contain express provisions dealing with intellectual property. Similarly, the (UN) Outer Space Treaty makes no mention, providing instead a number of general principles, including that:

  1. the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind

  2. outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all states

  3. outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means

  4. the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes

  5. astronauts shall be regarded

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