Re: Copyright issue

Chris Lewis (clewis@american.edu)
Thu, 14 Aug 1997 09:52:12 -0400

RE: Gary's broader interpretation of face-to-face teaching stipulations

I would like to raise a sensitive issue that I have noticed occurs at
nearly every library media department that has in-house viewing carrels.
Most of us work in libraries that have feature films (probably primarily
supplied by Facets or Movies Unlimited).

Now let's say a professor requests Pulp Fiction for a class use. Then
the library buys a "home use" copy from Facets. It would seem to be in
the spirit of fair-use to allow students to watch the film on their own
if they missed the class or for later review. But what about the next
semester, when Pulp Fiction is no longer being taught? If the library
does not allow students to check tapes out of the building Pulp Fiction
should not be circulated for any in-house use, correct? Is everybody
abiding by this? I know this part of the law is being interpreted pretty
loosely but it's an issue that no one ever brings up on videolib
(perhaps because no one wants to incriminate him/herself). It has made
it necessary for us to begin planning to circulate feature films to
students for "home use".

Does anyone know how lawmakers arrived at the distinction between an
individual watching a videotape at home and watching one at an
individual workstation?

Chris Lewis
American U