Re: [Videolib] question on copyrights

Susan Albrecht (albrechs@wabash.edu)
Wed, 22 Feb 2006 09:55:38 -0500

I think the question, though, Jessica, is why is it WORSE to stream a film
**that the institution owns** and then password protect it and make it
available to only a particular class of students, than it would be to have
it on reserve? (There is no argument, correct?, that it's okay to place
any video a library owns on reserve?) IOW, what most of us have done in
the past is take that VHS or DVD that we *own* and place it on
reserve. The students in that class would have to come into the library
during the hours that we're open, check it out and view it here. Streaming
and making it available, on a restricted basis, only changes the WAY in
which those same students view the film. In the streaming situation, no
fewer copies of the film are being purchased. So I guess I'm scratching my
head a little here about why this is worse than the old-fashioned reserve
system.

Again, if the film were streamed into a classroom, it's no different than
the faculty member swinging by the library, checking out the video and
showing it in his/her classroom. I just don't see why this would cut into
sales; the institution still has to buy the original copy that it's going
to stream. Maybe I'm giving away my position at a very small institution
in this response, though, and you're really thinking of large universities?

Susan at Wabash

At 04:20 PM 2/21/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>I too appreciate the discussion but do think it is more than a stretch
>and potentially dangerous to suggest that fair use would allow the streaming
>an an entire dramatic film WITHOUT the copyright holders permission. I think
>this goes against decades of accepted copyright and assumes that if you only
>violate ONE element of the 4 factors listed for Fair Use it is OK. Taken to
>its extreme it would also allow to digitize and stream whole books under
>copyright without permission etc. I don't think the idea of 3 minutes or no
>more than 10 percent of a work was developed out of thin air. What I always
>like to respond in these cases is that if you feel this IS legal and covered
>than you should have the courage of your convictions and contact the
>copyright holder be it Kino or Disney and tell them that this is your
>understanding of the law and you are going to do it. While I am not a big
>fan of how Disney and over major studios handle stuff , the truth is small
>companies like Kino don't have the resources for much legal action ( though
>we have taken some none at this point has been against an academic
>institution).
>As for what a company would "lose" if its films are streamed into a
>classroom, the simple answer is the revenue we need to survive. The average
>Kino film costs $30 and most are bought by wholesalers at a steep discount
>If Kino sells a copy of Metropolis for $17 to a school that buys it from
>Ingram or Amazon etc and then streams it to classes all over its entire
>system we simply can't survive. We expect for instance different campuses of
>an institution to buy their own copy ( though can always interlibrary loan)
>and on very popular films a school might buy a few copies. What if the
>school just borrowed a legal copy from the local rental store and digitized
>that for streaming? I assume you can see the problem. Now I think we are
>more than open to working with schools on streaming when we have rights and
>can have some limits on the terms. There was an old joke by Goddard that
>eventually Hollywood would just make one film a year and everyone would
>watch that, well my fear of the slippery slope of thinking that you can
>digitize whole films under "Fair Use" is that some day everyone will want to
>digitize it from the SAME copy.
>
>For the record I personally take a liberal view of these things and have
>allowed several schools that have closed circuit campus systems to use our
>films AT NO EXTRA charge if it is just being sent to a single class but this
>is a lot different from giving unlimited access to both classes and students
>in those classes.
>
>It is already difficult and getting harder by the day to put out ANY small
>film on DVD. There are so many wonderful foreign & classic films we COULD
>put out if only we knew enough people would buy them. While streaming should
>theoretically be some kind of additional revenue stream under your scenario
>it would almost certainly be the death of putting any of these films out.
>As it stands I doubt we will ever put out another African film and I can't
>get Kino to release the 3 silent films by women directors that I produced on
>video on ONE DVD for $30 because their is not enough of a market. I
>understand we really all want to work together so that everyone gets what
>They need but suggesting that schools can digitize whole films without
>compensation to rights holders is almost guaranteed to make fewer and fewer
>small films legally available
>
>OK long rant sorry still jet lagged
>Because of lack of market

Susan Albrecht
Acquisitions Coordinator
Wabash College Lilly Library
Crawfordsville, IN
x6216
albrechs@wabash.edu

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"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."--Neil Peart
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