RE: Questionable copyright advice

David Gilbert (dgilbert@WELLESLEY.EDU)
Thu, 11 Apr 1996 10:42:10 -0400 (EDT)

That no special license or right is needed for a faculty member or student
in a non-profit educational institution to use almost any video in a
classroom in a course which is part of the regular curriculum is a very well
established right granted by the Fair Use guidelines. Only if you signed
this right away in a contract with the vendor would you be violating any
interpretation or spirit of the law. (And in that case, it serves you right
for dealing with such a vendor.)

Another aspect relevant here, however, is clause 4 of the Fair Use
guidelines. A student using a rented video to illustrate a course
presentation has no significant impact on the market for that video. In
fact, she may not have rented the video otherwise.

I once heard a presentation from a lawyer who had worked for publishers and
is now working for us good guys. He got out of the publishing industry
because it was clear that there was a concerted effort by them and their
industry associations to destroy over a period of time both the Fair Use
guidelines and the Public Domain. Disney and A&E's beligerent behavior is
probably part of this effort, along with the hideous concept of 'pay per
use' and the equally nefarious idea that when you pay $300 for a piece of
plastic, all you have bought is a piece of plastic, you've only 'licenced'
what you thought you had bought. At first I thought this lawyer type was a
victim of persecution mana and was seeing all kinds of plots where none
existed (even though he lived in Atlanta Georgia, not Montana). Now,
however, I believe him.

>My wife is a public school teacher and is running into what I believe is a
>misinformed policy from her administration. Her school district does not allow
>teachers to show any videos in the classroom unless they have purchased the
>public peformance rights. This includes videos that directly support the
>curriculum. The district claims the reason for this policy is that company's
>such as A&E and Disney are filing lawsuits against school districts across the
>country. This policy completely ignores the Face to Face learning situation
>clause in the copyright law.
>This is just one example of how schools are overreacting to parionia over
>Joel Jones
>Kansas City Public Library

David Gilbert - Music Librarian - Wellesley College -