[Videolib] RE: Streaming and course management systems

David G Horvath (david.horvath@louisville.edu)
Mon, 22 Aug 2005 15:14:08 -0400

The University of Louisville Library has just completed a pilot project for four faculty members using 29 different video titles from about ten different distributors and a few individual film makers. We've negotiated terms from each of them. The average cost for this additional license (closed asynchronous digital delivery, i.e. password protected) is about $200 for three years. Some distributors are lower, some higher. Some are still afraid to allow any form of digitizing or streaming of content.

Having just completed the arrangements with Media Education Foundation, they are the farthest along on this in many ways, including a very simple two-page license agreement and basic provisions document. Multiple titles are added to the same form. Also, the signed contract generates a "loan" to us of a mini DVD copy of the film to use for digitizing which solves the pesky copyright/technical issues of "cracking" and digitizing from a standard DVD. When the digitized copy is completed, we return the mini-DVD to MEF.

In terms of management of the licenses, the Dean of libraries must be the official signer (although our lawyers are "looking into this") but I'm keeping track of the details (expiration, price, courses, faculty) since the original copies come from our collection and the instructors come to us with the initial questions. I'm doing this in a database so I can quickly refer when the next faculty asks for something. The actual digitization and resulting streaming files and links are is done by our Center for Teaching and Learning which manages online courses, Blackboard applications, etc.

Now the money question: students that sign up for fully web-based courses pay an additional fee which goes to the offering department. We tell instructors to work this out and get approval from the departments and the license fees are transferred to the library account. So far, this has worked, but I expect we'll be assuming the cost of some of these licenses when the course doesn't receive a "online premium" or the department just can't/won't pay. This would be the case if the title is something we think other faculty would be interested in using as well. "Sharing" the cost would be too complicated.

I expect that within the next two-three years, we'll be getting these rights included in the initial price of the video and these "terms" will be seen as another form of public performance. Distibutors will have negotiated these terms with the filmmakers in advance (which I think is one of the hold-ups now.) It's just the latest set of hoops to hop.

But as another post indicated, let's not forget about TEACH Act option, which if the criterion are met, is free.


David Horvath
University of Louisville
Ekstrom Library
Media Services
Louisville, KY 40292

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