Re: Opening Up This Can of Worms Again - Copyrigh

Gary Handman (
Wed, 13 Mar 1996 11:17:32 -0800 (PST)

There really haven't been any substantive changes to the 1976 law regarding
video copyright. What I think there have been have been a number of informal
(and by no means universally agreed-upon) interpretations and legal "takes"
on certain issues. A notable example concerns the use of copyrighted video
(i.e. titles bought without performance rights) by individuals in library
viewing facilities (we're talking about carrel use, not audience viewing).
For years Ivan Bender (as the legal flack for AIME) staunchly contended that
since most libraries were public places, carrel viewing constituted public
performance. Recently, Kris Brancolini, Rick Provine and I attended a
weeklong symposium of motion media. Bender (who is now the legal flack for
the Consortium of College and University Media other words,
on our side...) gave a talk during which he openly flip flopped on this
which, while not reflecting specific case law ruling, is pretty significant.

There are others issues which seem to informally shaken down by consensus:
Bender and other legal mavens seem to interpret as permissible the making
of a copy of a legally-acquired, physically at risk tape, for which
a reasonable attempt has been made to replace at fair market value (i.e.
an out of distribution title)--in other words, the rules for OP book
copies seem to extend to video (the need for caution and careful
documentation obviously still exists in such cases)

It'll be interesting to see whether the projected changes in the
copyright laws pertaining to electronic/digital info acquisition and
transfer have any impact on good ol' analog video recording...

Gary Handman Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley, CA 94720-6000