RE: [Videolib] Legality of a DVD backup

Bergman, Barbara J (
Tue, 27 Apr 2004 17:16:12 -0500

Everyone-- Go take a deep breath, take a break, perhaps get some sun.
We don't want Jim and other new folks to think we're cranky.

If I read this question correctly there are two elements here--

1) Just-in-case backups -- Unfortunately, high cost is not considered a
valid excuse for making a backup copy. If it's a currently available
title, then the answer is "no, you can't make a just-in-case backup" --
unless you have permission. Sometimes there's licensing that allows it
as part of the original purchase. Some educational vendors do allow
backups if you ask. (If it's a feature film, it's a definite no. But
then, they're usually your $25 purchases.)

Most distributors have reduced prices for replacement copies. Some are
more reasonable than others, but that's another discussion...

If you get into the messy area of out-of-print and/or archival, the
answer is "maybe"... well, you've seen that discussion recently.

2) Transferring from videocassettes to DVDs --
Not okay without permission because you're changing format, i.e. making
a "derivative copy."
Again if the item is an out-of-print title in an obsolete format, then
there are different considerations.

Does that help, or just muddy the waters? :-)

Copyright and Fair Use are as much about ethics as law.
I once saw copyright infringement compared to speeding. --
Is my behavior legal? No.
Will I get caught? Probably not.
But is it ethical?
We in libraries and education want to keep the balance between our
rights of fair use and the rights of the copyright holder.

As always, the Canadians can rightly remind us how lucky we are to have
fair use of films in the classroom.

Barb Bergman
Media Services Librarian
Minnesota State University-Mankato

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 9:23 AM
Subject: [Videolib] Legality of a DVD backup


We have some videocassettes that were rather expensive and would like to
them up to DVD. The resulting DVD would be only for library use. Is
legal to


Jim Leftwich

Jim Leftwich
Berkeley College
Westchester Campus Library
99 Church Street
White Plains, NY 10601
914-694-1122 x3371

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