Re: Questionable copyright advice

David J.Hoshko (
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 18:32:27 -0600


I think that your concerns are justified, and well founded. The problem is
that when these decisions hit the administration level not all the facts
are brought forth before the decision is made.
IMHO (without a law degree) the interpretation of the copyright law is
valid, however it doesn't go the next step to include the face-to-face
exemption (just because the showing qualifies under face-to-face does NOT
mean that it isn't a public performance, only that it is EXEMPT from
needing to be licensed).
Unfortunately the only soloution is education and getting people to
actually read the copyright law (including section 110) and not just the
FBI warnings on videotapes.
>From the Films Incorporated point of view we would rather have an educator
or administrator think they need licensing and call us and check with us to
see if this is the case rather than have them just think that because they
are a school or school system that licesing doesn't apply to them and have
them do illegal showings.

I often refer people to the copyright law itself which has been reproduced
in hypertext at Cornell Law School:
Also the face-to-face exemption in section 110:
In addition to the direct route, links to both of these are provided in
Films Inc's reproduction of the current MPAA brochure about film and video
piracy and the correct use of videotapes by non-profit organizations and

People should read the law themselves, and have their legal councel read
the law, then formulate their own decisions, not just taking it as fact
from hearsay or the FBI warnings.

David J. Hoshko
Senior Account Executive
1-800-323-4222 ext. 208
Films Incorporated Entertainment
A Division of Public Media Incorporated

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