Will online courses have right to use videos without permission

Steve Fesenmaier (fesenms@wvlc.lib.wv.us)
Tue, 8 Oct 2002 13:45:05 -0700 (PDT)

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Tuesday, October 8, 2002


Congress Eases Copyright Restrictions on Distance Education



President Bush is expected to sign a bill, passed last week, that would
open the door for professors to use some copyrighted
works in online courses without having to seek permission.

On Thursday, the Senate approved HR 2215, a bill authorizing spending
for the Department of Justice. The bill includes a
provision that would ease copyright law for online education. The House
of Representatives passed the same bill the previous

The legislation would amend the Copyright Act of 1976 so that
online-education instructors could use excerpts from recordings
of dramatic literary and musical works -- such as plays, musicals, and
operas -- on course Web sites without seeking
permission from the copyright owners. Under current law, only
nondramatic literary and musical works can be used in online
courses without permission. Most copyrighted works can be used in their
entirety in a traditional classroom setting without

The language was originally part of S 487, a bill called the Technology
Education and Copyright Harmonization Act, or TEACH

Kim Kelley, associate provost for University of Maryland University
College, said the change in the law will allow professors to
create multimedia lessons for students using clips from various
copyrighted works.

Under current law, professors are unsure whether they can use the same
copyrighted works online that they can use in their
traditional courses, Ms. Kelley said. And professors who ask permission
often have to wait months for an answer, only to find
out that using the material would cost them thousands of dollars.

The bill would somewhat level the playing field for online and
traditional classrooms, Ms. Kelley said. "That's a major
breakthrough," she said. "Until now, it's been a gray area, and nobody's
been sure."

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