Re: Video copyright law for libraries

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Mon, 20 Nov 2000 15:57:28 -0800 (PST)

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Jessica is correct. The copyright law really only makes the distinction
between public and non-public performance--i.e. videos viewed in the
context of the home, in the context of face-to-face teaching, and video
shown to groups outside of the former two contexts. The Doctrine of First
Sale allows libraries and others to sell, lend, rent, give away...the
videos it has legally acquired--your vendor has absolutely no power over
those rights. The right to show the work to groups in the library (i.e. in
a context outside of the home or outside of face-to-face classroom
teaching) are, however, rights that belong exclusively to the copyright
owner. Now, this said, the distributor can stipulate any old purchase
agreement or contract that he wants: "Buy this tape and you can only loan
it on Mondays; Buy this tape and you can only rent it to people named
Gwendolyn." Such stipulations are commercial agreements between buyer and
seller, and have nothing to do with copyright; like any formal or informal
contract they are probably legally binding.

The thing that frosts my California butt is when distributors, operating
under misconception or guile, try to foist particular conditions and terms
of sale or use off as part of copyright. ...but then again, I think we've
pretty much batted that issue to death on this list in the past.

At 03:02 PM 11/20/2000 -0800, you wrote:
>I just had an interesting conversation with a representative from a
>company thatsells motivational videos. They're VERY expensive but we have
>decided to previewfor possible purchase for staff training. During our
>conversation, the rep was
>trying to determine who would be using the videos and he very pointedly
>stated
>that their copyright only allowed viewing by organizations or groups, not
>individuals. I was not aware that those conditions could be stipulated for
>public
>libraries. Am I wrong about this? Even though we probably would not check them
>out to the general public due to the high cost of the items, it goes
>against the
>
>grain for a company to try and tell us who can use the items we purchase. I
>understand about public performance rights, but we still put those videos on
>the shelf for the public to check out. The information is clearly labeled
>on thevideo and it is then up to the individual to decide whether to abide
>by the
>copyright statement. I have no intention of pursuing this in the courts but
>I sure wish someone would! Is this legal?
> Mary Gontarek
> Owatonna Public Library
> Owatonna, MN
> MaryG@selco.lib.mn.us

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000
<http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC>http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"Everything wants to become television"
(Gregory Ulmer. Teletheory : Grammatology in the Age of Video)
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Jessica is correct.  The copyright law really only makes the distinction between public and non-public performance--i.e. videos viewed in the context of the home, in the context of face-to-face teaching, and video shown to groups outside of the former two contexts.  The Doctrine of First Sale allows libraries and others to sell, lend, rent, give away...the videos it has legally acquired--your vendor has absolutely no power over those rights.  The right to show the work to groups in the library (i.e. in a context outside of the home or outside of face-to-face classroom teaching) are, however, rights that belong exclusively to the copyright owner.  Now, this said, the distributor can stipulate any old purchase agreement or contract that he wants:  "Buy this tape and you can only loan it on Mondays; Buy this tape and you can only rent it to people named Gwendolyn."  Such stipulations are commercial agreements between buyer and seller, and have nothing to do with copyright; like any formal or informal contract they are probably legally binding.

The thing that frosts my California butt is when distributors, operating under misconception or guile, try to foist particular conditions and terms of sale or use off as part of copyright.   ...but then again, I think we've pretty much batted that issue to death on this list in the past.






At 03:02 PM 11/20/2000 -0800, you wrote:

I just had an interesting conversation with a representative from a company thatsells motivational videos. They're VERY expensive but we have decided to previewfor possible purchase for staff training. During our conversation, the rep was
trying to determine who would be using the videos and he very pointedly stated
that their copyright only allowed viewing by organizations or groups, not individuals. I was not aware that those conditions could be stipulated for public
libraries. Am I wrong about this? Even though we probably would not check them
out to the general public due to the high cost of the items, it goes against the

grain for a company to try and tell us who can use the items we purchase. I
understand about public performance rights, but we still put those videos on
the shelf for the public to check out. The information is clearly labeled on thevideo and it is then up to the individual to decide whether to abide by the
copyright statement. I have no intention of pursuing this in the courts but
I sure wish someone would! Is this legal?
 Mary Gontarek
 Owatonna Public Library
 Owatonna, MN
 MaryG@selco.lib.mn.us

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC<= /A>

"Everything wants to become television"
(Gregory Ulmer.  Teletheory : Grammatology in the Age of Video)<= /x-html> --=====================_9693963==_.ALT--