Re: [Videolib] Copyright lawyers and such

Susan Albrecht (
Tue, 24 Mar 2009 08:20:42 -0400

I agree with Sarah. What can it hurt to have an additional
opinion? So long as it's expressed as an opinion. We certainly have
had people on Videolib claiming X is true or Y is fact or that you
can't ever do Z, without much mention that they're expressing
opinion. It is a very frustrating thing, because it would be
incredibly NICE if this were a simple, straightforward issue with
easy answers, and it really does suck at times when one is faced with
a huge variety of opinions on what is kosher and what is not.

For instance, at the start of this thread, we have Gary, our esteemed
list guru, saying that basically it's a no-go for Cindy's prof unless
it's short clips and doesn't involve any illegal circumvention [the
view I've pretty much held to as well], followed by Carrie saying
Blackboard can be used and there's no limit on length! Wha--?? I'm
guessing we'd all LOVE that if we were sure it were legal, but are
we?? If we were, wouldn't we be doing what Jessica suggests and
shouting out, "I'm doing this and it's legal!"? It DOES come down to
opinion -- and acceptable risk, as Gary noted -- it seems to me.

Jessica is also right that stuff IS happening or at least that
pressure IS being brought to bear on media people to digitize &
stream entire films to make them available for regular classes, for
convenience, etc. Get those tomatoes ready to toss my way, because I
actually really hope Sarah is right about that lawsuit, and I
actually hope it comes sooner rather than later. That would give us
all something much firmer to go on!

Finally, going back to the original question from Cindy, this doesn't
even sound like a distance education course. What am I missing? I
thought TEACH pertained to distance ed, not regular, on-campus
classes. I understand what the prof is saying, in that a short--or
compacted--summer course makes it hard for everything to be covered
in class, yadda yadda, but if it's a bricks-and-mortar classroom, why
is TEACH even being invoked? Aren't we really talking Fair Use only?

Susan at Wabash

At 08:45 PM 3/23/2009, you wrote:
>Actually there has been some argument on the list that it "should"
>be legal to stream an entire film. Jessica, I'm interested to hear
>whatever your lawyer pal has to say. We all know that the law is
>subject to interpretation and that some institutions have a higher
>tolerance for risk than others. Having another voice added to the
>discussion could be beneficial for all of us. As Gary pointed out,
>what we do as individual institutions is heavily influenced by what
>our legal counsel will support (i.e. defend us for when we get
>sued). I'm not even saying "if we get sued" because imho some
>school that's digitizing entire feature films and streaming them for
>the convenience of their students is going to get sued.
>I think it's just a matter of time. But I represent a conservative
>institutional philosophy ... and therefore am not streaming anything
>in its entirety without acquiring rights. (okay there is ONE thing
>but I have documented a lengthy fair-use analysis on why it's probably okay.)
>I say bring on the legal opinions.
>Sarah @ Hofstra

Susan Albrecht
Acquisitions Manager
Wabash College Lilly Library
Crawfordsville, IN

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

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