RE: Copyright-fair use segment vs. off air rules

Steve Guy (
Tue, 12 Sep 2000 15:24:58 -0700 (PDT)

Caveat lector, I am (blissfully) not a lawyer but I have had occasion to
have an "opinion letter" on "fair comment" prepared in conjunction with
Newsreel's release of two media literacy programs, Marlon Riggs' COLOR
ADJUSTMENT and Harold Boihem's AD AND THE EGO. I think the time limit cited
by Gary can be a bit misleading; it is a necessary but not sufficient
condition for "fair comment." As I understand this highly controversial
though infrequently contested area of law, the real question is not how much
you use but how you use it. "Fair comment" means that you are commenting on
a particular text or program; this would seem to imply that the program be
identified (either specifically or generically) and that the filmmaker
clearly be commenting not on what is represented in the footage but how it
is represented by the film. You may not copy even 3 seconds of a program if
you are merely using it as unpaid "stock footage," that is, simply to
duplicate content. The 3 minute limit is, I believe, merely indicative of
the maximum time felt necessary to "quote" from a program in order to
comment about it; it could be regarded as excessive in certain
circumstances. There are also considerations about whether the use is
commercial and whether the use diminishes the commercial value of the
original text (presumably by providing in effect a duplicate of the
material, not by critiquing the text itself.)

Larry Daressa
California Newsreel
149 Ninth Street #420
San Francisco, CA 94103
phone: 415.621.6196
fax: 415.621.6522

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Handman []
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2000 2:16 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Copyright-fair use segment vs. off air rules

Those quantified strictures ("less of 3 minutes or 10%") are from the CCUMC
multimedia Fair Use guidelines. And that's what they are: Guidelines (NOT

The off-air taping part of the equation has to do with the Kastenmeir
Guidelines for off-air tape (again, they're GUIDELINES, not law)

The two don't really have all that much to do with each other.

I think you'd be skating on verrrrrrrrrrrry thin ice doing what you propose.

At 01:40 PM 09/12/2000 -0700, you wrote:
>Would the esteemed members (or at least those willing to venture their
>thoughts) shed some light on the "less of 3 minutes or 10%" fair use
>rule for video with regard to teacher prepared material (Hyperstudio or
>PowerPoint). In particular, do the rules for off-air taping (i.e. show
>full piece once in 30 days and parts of piece within another 15) trump
>the above fair use rule? Specific instance: teacher wishes to prepare a
>digitized video clip of 2 minutes from material taped off-air over 45
>days ago.
>Many thanks in advance!
>Pierre J. Gregoire, MLIS.
>Audio Visual Institute of DuPage
>The Regional Media Library for the
>Teachers and Students of DuPage County
Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000

"Everything wants to become television" (James Ulmer -- Teletheory)