Questionable copyright advice

Ralph Huntzinger (
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 13:01:04 -0700 (PDT)

This matter may fit into the very good discussion that is developing
on pricing and rights.

Journal reading is usually at the bottom of my pile and I just did the
pre-read glance at TechTrends (Jan/Feb '96, vol 41, #1) from AECT.
AGHAST at the short "advice" about student use of rented videos in a
classroom situation which was contained in the "Copyright and You" column
(pg. 9). I'm wondering if my take on this advice is faulty or if others
feel that the advice is misleading?

The question posed is about students using clips from rental videos to
support their ideas during a classroom debate.
The answer points out that students can do things for projects that
educators may not be allowed in face-to-face situations, that teachers
can use rented videos for instructional purposes, and that caution should
be used to be sure the use is part of planned, instructional activities,
not for other purposes. The answer then goes into a short discussion
about some district's administrative policies which disallow use of
rented video. (I noticed alarm bells in this portion of the answer.)
Specifically: "The home use only statement is, in effect, a contract
between the video rental store and the consumer. The appropriate use of
the rented video is in the home, not in the school. A school is
considered a public place and the use of the rented video in school would,
technically, be considered a public performance." (HUH, does this throw
out the face-to-face, instructional activity exemption?)

I'm basically concerned that this interpertation (badly constructed
and faulty in my opinion) was contained in the AECT column. It therefore
will get "wide distribution" among individuals who need to know the
current thinking on this issue, especially as the decisions on this issue
seem to be moving into the classroom or administrative levels and out of
the media specialists levels. Am I misled on the thinking (possible)?
What can we (VRT among others) do if I'm not?


Ralph E. Huntzinger
Media Services
King County Library System voice: (206) 684-6673
300 8th Ave. N. fax: (206) 684-5590
Seattle, WA 98109