Re: Student groups & public performance

Stan Diamond (
Tue, 19 Nov 1996 17:43:44 -0400

Once again, the policy is the US copyright law. Any published work, and
that includes videos, is automatically copyrighted. It makes no difference
whether it is a current feature film, or an old documentary (unless its age
has placed it into the public domain - 75 years I think assuming that no
one has reissued it and renewed the copyright). If you have public
performance rights with the title, either one can be shown by the group.
If you have only home use rights with either type of film neither can be
shown by the group. Always remeber that every video that has not lapsed
into the public domain - incuding Home Video is fully covered by the
copyright law.On the other hand, either can be shown as part of a regularly
scheduled class without any copyright restriction.
As always I am not a lawyer but am providing my interpretation of the
copyright regulations. Hope this helps.

>Hi, folks. Here's a public performance question that I _think_
>I know the answer to but thought I'd run it by y'all.
>We don't normally circulate videos (out of the media center) to
>our students, but we do have a Special Loan Request form they
>can fill out to explain why they need something outside of the
>library (class presentation, etc.). Today, we had a student
>request for a Video Yesteryear tape of "Reefer Madness." He
>wanted to take it out of the library in order to show it to
>one of the student clubs he belonged to -- essentially an open
>showing. We told him no, not on the basis of merit (showing
>an appropriately educational film to a recognized group would
>be fine if we had the rights), but on the basis of public
>performance. Since I'm working on the assumption that public
>performance rights on a tape would allow for such a showing
>(please correct me if I'm wrong), what happens in the case of
>home videos that are not clearly under copyright? Obviously
>"Pulp Fiction" couldn't be shown by the group even if it was
>for so-called educational purposes, but what about Reefer
>Madness? Or what about a documentary released by a "home video"
>company? Any thoughts? Better yet, any encounters with such
>situations and/or policies to cite?
>Thanks --
>Jay Rozgonyi
>Media Librarian
>Ithaca College
>Ithaca, NY

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