Re: [Videolib] Chronicle article: Slow Start for Long-Awaited Easing

Pat Shufeldt (
Wed, 26 Mar 2003 22:23:13 -0500

Here's the article from CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION which I mentioned this

"Bergman, Barbara J" wrote:

> FYI - From this week's Chronicle of Higher Education
> -----Original Message-----
> This article is available online at this address:
> - The text of the article is below -
> _________________________________________________________________
> From the issue dated March 28, 2003
> Slow Start for Long-Awaited Easing of Copyright Restriction
> Deborah K. Griggs used movie clips in her courses on
> interculturalcommunication, turning off the sound to show
> students what they could figure out from just watching the
> characters.
> While watching the 1991 American movie Father of the Bride,
> students in her classroom could easily tell that Steve
> Martin's character was jealous of his future son-in-law for
> stealing his daughter's heart. While watching the Indian film
> West Is West, however, students couldn't as easily read the
> main character's expressions as he made his way around San
> Francisco.
> Now that Ms. Griggs teaches the same course online through
> University of Maryland University College, however, she skips
> the movie clips. Until recently, U.S. copyright law barred
> online courses from using such materials unless the copyright
> holder had given permission -- possibly after demanding a
> hefty royalty -- a step that isn't required for professors
> using such material in a traditional classroom setting.
> "It just takes so much time, so I never bothered," she says.
> In November, President Bush signed into law a bill that aims
> to help faculty members like Ms. Griggs by loosening the
> restrictions on using copyrighted works in online education.
> The bill, the Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization
> Act, amended copyright law to permit professors, under certain
> circumstances, to use some of the same copyrighted works in
> online courses that they have used in traditional ones, free
> of charge and without having to ask permission first. Congress
> approved the measure with support from both colleges and
> copyright owners.
> But few faculty members around the country are taking
> advantage of the new law, known as the Teach Act. Faculty
> members and administrators say it is too complex and too vague
> about the conditions under which they can put copyrighted
> works online.
> Indeed, confusion over the new law has entire institutions
> applying the brakes. For example, North Carolina State
> University and Pennsylvania State University are not putting
> any new copyrighted content in online courses until questions
> about the law's provisions are resolved.
> "I have to admit, I can get pretty confused with what you can
> and can't do," says Joseph J. Branin, director of libraries at
> Ohio State University.
> What the Law Allows
> The act permits nonprofit, accredited institutions of higher
> education to place online the full texts of "nondramatic"
> written works, such as news articles and poetry, as well as
> portions of "dramatic" works, such as plays and movies. As
> long as the materials are being used for courses, the
> institutions need not get the copyright holders' permission or
> pay royalties.
> Avoiding royalties is a big attraction, especially for
> colleges that have been paying to use copyrighted materials
> online. For example, Bellevue Community College, near Seattle,
> pays $50 to $100 for each article from National Geographic
> that it posts online; Eastern University, near Philadelphia,
> pays about $5 each for articles from Fortune Magazine. The
> fees add up: Copyright works for its online courses cost
> University of Maryland University College about $200,000 a
> year, which it would not have to pay under the Teach Act.
> But as the saying goes, certain restrictions apply -- more
> than a few, in fact. The law requires that institutions
> develop written copyright policies before they can put more
> copyrighted material online. Professors and relevant staff
> members must be educated about copyright law. Students have to
> be given proper notice that the material is protected by
> copyright. The copyrighted material can appear online only for
> the length of time that it is needed for the course. Only
> students enrolled in the course can have access to the
> material. (Supplemental material transmitted online as part of
> traditional classroom courses is covered by other parts of
> copyright law.)
> One of the law's most problematic requirements is that
> instructors make "reasonable" efforts to prevent students'
> disseminating the audio or video clips to others. Although the
> music-sharing software company Napster has been put out of
> business, second-generation peer-to-peer networks like KaZaA
> allow people to make digital copies of popular songs and
> movies without paying a cent to the copyright owners. Those
> networks are wildly popular among college students.
> Even so, Maryland's Ms. Griggs wonders whether it's really
> necessary to guard against students' disseminating the kinds
> of online materials that are used in courses. After all, she
> says, few students would bother pirating a silent, 30-second
> clip of Father of the Bride. "They can download the whole
> movie from the Net if they like," she notes.
> An associate professor of English and communication, Ms.
> Griggs works in Germany; most of her students are in the
> military and are taking online courses at American bases
> there, where U.S. law prevails.
> Searching for Definitions
> A key issue for many institutions is that the Teach Act
> doesn't define "reasonable." Some experts believe that using
> password protection should suffice. Some college
> administrators think institutions will have to invest in
> technology that can track what students do with the
> copyrighted material after they download it -- technology that
> may not exist yet.
> The reasonable-efforts requirement poses a tough choice for
> colleges, says Jim Neal, vice president for information
> services at Columbia University. If colleges must wait for the
> development of technologies that limit what students can do
> with audio and video clips, he says, it could be years before
> the institutions can take advantage of the Teach Act. But if
> officials mistakenly assume that current technology is good
> enough, they could be subject to lawsuits by copyright owners.
> John Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of
> American Universities, says some college officials are too
> concerned about liability. He says an institution isn't going
> to be liable as long as its officials can show that they made
> reasonable efforts to protect the material, like using
> passwords -- which most online courses already do. "They don't
> have to guarantee success," he says.
> Ms. Griggs says her online course on intercultural
> communication is password-protected. But she still isn't sure
> whether she'll have to use additional technology to make sure
> that students don't disseminate the material after they view
> it. "This is stuff I have to find out," she says.
> Allan Robert Adler, vice president for legal and governmental
> affairs at the Association of American Publishers, says most
> publishers are unlikely to sue the moment colleges begin
> testing the law -- unless the publishers find flagrant
> violations. "It's an implementation in progress," he says.
> "There's going to be a certain amount of experimentation in
> terms of what the statute allows, and that's OK."
> The authors of the Teach Act say it isn't difficult to apply.
> "The law was written through a process of extensive
> consultation with education institutions of all sizes and
> needs," says David Carle, a spokesman for one of the bill's
> principal sponsors, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
> "It was written to be as flexible as possible, to meet their
> varying needs."
> Some people affected by the law agree that it is workable.
> Laura N. Gasaway, director of the law library at the
> University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that the
> language -- arrived at through compromise by the competing
> interests -- may seem somewhat cryptic, but that the law's
> requirements do not put an unreasonable burden on
> higher-education officials.
> "If we'd have our perfect bill, copyright holders wouldn't
> have agreed to it, and vice versa," she says.
> College officials hope that questions about the act will be
> settled soon after a few institutions begin using it, setting
> de facto standards for other institutions. Meanwhile, some
> groups are offering guidance: The American Library Association
> and Ken Crews, director of the copyright center at Indiana
> University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, have published a
> paper that advises what can be done under the act
> (; North Carolina State
> University also has developed a set of guidelines for the
> Teach Act (
> Still, the University of Maryland University College has
> decided to wait before applying the Teach Act to all of its
> online courses at once, but it is allowing some professors to
> experiment with the law. Ms. Griggs, in Germany, is one. She
> says she plans to put movie clips online starting this summer
> now that copyright law has changed.
> The Maryland college has put some copyrighted material online
> as a test, including sections of the PBS documentary Cosmos.
> Before the Teach Act, the college had to mail videotapes of
> the documentary to online students, some of whom didn't bother
> to mail them back.
> Kim Kelley, associate provost for information and library
> services at the university, says she is confident that,
> eventually, none of its professors will have to seek copyright
> holders' permission for course materials. "It's so
> time-consuming to get permission," she says. "I'm going to
> recommend that we go forward. If we can't do it, nobody can do
> it."
> Even the new law's supporters acknowledge that colleges are
> faced with a big challenge in figuring out its provisions.
> Each institution will have to have its lawyers and copyright
> experts study the law, Mr. Crews says.
> "The Teach Act is a significant improvement over previous law,
> but it's not easy to apply, and it can't be done alone," he
> says.
> Ken Salomon, a lawyer at the Washington law firm Dow, Lohnes
> & Albertson, helped draft the language of the law. He says
> he understands that some college officials are wary about
> incurring liability by putting copyrighted material in their
> online courses.
> But after a few months, he says, they will see that there is
> nothing to worry about.
> "It's still awfully new," Mr. Salomon says. "The word is just
> filtering out."
> Here is a guide that professors can use to see whether, under
> the Teach Act, they can use copyrighted material in their
> online courses without seeking the author's permission:
> The college must be accredited and nonprofit.
> The college must have an internal policy on use of copyrighted
> material and on copyright law.
> The college must provide printed or online resources for
> faculty members that describe their rights and
> responsibilities under copyright law.
> The material must not have been originally intended for
> educational use.
> The material must have been lawfully acquired
> The material must be an integral part of the class session.
> Reasonable precautions must be made to restrict access to the
> copyrighted content to students enrolled in the course.
> Other reasonable controls must be used to prevent students
> from disseminating the material after viewing it.
> If a digital version of the material is readily available for
> use at the institution, then the instructor cannot convert an
> analog version to digital form for use in an online course.
> The college must inform students that the material may be
> protected by copyright law.
> SOURCE: North Carolina State University
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> Copyright 2003 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
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