Another Copyright Question

Steve Cassel -SLO (
Mon, 25 Aug 1997 09:41:20 -0400 (EDT)

Does anyone have an answer? I sent this on 8/18 and 8/20 and
have had no responses yet. The 8/18 message was never posted.
Any ideas regarding the video duplication of news stories
from off the air?


Steven Cassel

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 11:23:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steve Cassel -SLO <scassel@winslo>
Subject: Another Copyright Question

I work as a Media Consultant for the State Library of Ohio.
SLO has written policies against the copying of copyrighted
materials. These policies cover both the use of our
audiovisual equipment by our state employee customers, as well
as, the duplication of media materials by the SLO Media Center
staff members. Media Center staff will not copy any copyrighted
meterials without the written permission of the author/producer/
distributor of the media title. The vast majority of video
duplication requests involve uncopyrighted video recordings
produced by a federal or state government department/agency.
Recently, a question was raised regarding the video duplication
of stories taken from news broadcasts. Occasionally, the Media
Center is asked by state employees to copy a video that contains
news stories/political commericals, that relates to the business
of their state government department or agency. Copies of videos
are needed for hearings or other legal proceedings. State
departments may want to distribute information to their regional
branch offices.
At times, some state employees bring in videos copied off-the-
air, by themselves, either at home or in their office. Other
requests involve additional copies of video clips from television
stations across the state, put together by a commercial service
that, that collects specific news story video clips that are
requested by a customer. State agencies use this service to see
how televison stations across the state report on stories concerning
a particular issue.
From what I have read regarding copyright laws, I can see no
problem with the copying of short segments of news programs for
our state agency customers. The main questions for the copying
of these news programs rest upon:

1) The Amount of the Program that is copied : only a few minutes
(one story/30 second political commerical), not the entire
broadcast. SLO should question the copying of a complete
"20/20" or "60 Minutes" broadcast.

2) The Economic Impact on the Copyright Holder: in the above
scenarios, the economic impact would not be worth the time to
contact legal counsel. A copy of a three minute story will not
have much economic impact for a television station.

3) Copying done for the offical business of a non-profit,
governmement organization by a non-profit government
organization: I believe that this would be covered by the fair
use provisions of the Copyright Law.

4) The copying is not done on a daily, systematic basis.

For these reasons, I am not overly concerned about providing
the video duplication service for our customers. I feel
reasonably confident of this, even with the presence of statements
against any copying posted by the television station, at the
beginning/end of their broadcasts. The stations are trying to
protect themselves against the wholesale copying from a commerical
organization for profit. The Media Center only copies videos for
state employees for official state business, not the general public.
SO... what is the opinion of other Videolibers on the issue of
copying particular news stories from the broadcasts of television


Steven L. Cassel, Media Consultant
State Library of Ohio