On the UK government page on Exceptions to copyright the time-shifting exception is described as:

A recording of a broadcast can be made in domestic premises for private and domestic use to enable it to be viewed or listened to at a more convenient time.

The making of a recording of a broadcast for purposes other than to time-shift a programme for you or your family is likely to be illegal.

Would this cover recording a whole series during the subscription period of a streaming service and watching the end after the subscription had lapsed?

1 Answer 1


No, or at least not in all cases. This is because the timeshifting exemption applies to "broadcasts", which has a specific definition in the Copyright Act

(1) In this Part a "broadcast" means an electronic transmission of visual images, sounds or other information which--

(a) is transmitted for simultaneous reception by members of the public and is capable of being lawfully received by them, or

(b) is transmitted at a time determined solely by the person making the transmission for presentation to members of the public, and which is not excepted by subsection (1A); and references to broadcasting shall be construed accordingly.

(1A) Excepted from the definition of "broadcast" is any internet transmission unless it is--

(a) a transmission taking place simultaneously on the internet and by other means,

(b) a concurrent transmission of a live event, or

(c) a transmission of recorded moving images or sounds forming part of a programme service offered by the person responsible for making the transmission, being a service in which programmes are transmitted at scheduled times determined by that person.

So if you were, say, recording a series from a broadcast on Sky TV channel (other paid TV services are available) and then timeshifted it to watch after your Sky subscription ended you'd be ok, Netflix? Not so much.

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