Re: Another Copyright Question

Stan Diamond (
Mon, 25 Aug 1997 19:48:19 -0400

> 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.

Any program produced by the Federal Govt (and possibly a State Govt) is not
protected by copyright. However, if CBS takes a piece of a federal
production and uses it a part of a nightly news program, the entire program
including the federal piece might be covered by CBS' copyright on the news

> 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,

I believe that "hard news" stories are also allowed to be copied without
restriction, but a political commercial is: not news, is no less a
production than a music video, and is an entire work. Therefore, I believe
it would be protected by copyright.

>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.

Since this video clipping service is making their livelihood from selling
these compilations of news clips and since they would probably be willing
to sell you as many copies as you needed to distribute, I would treat these
tapes a complilations or anthologies and would assume the are copyrighted
by the clipping service.
> 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.

As I said earlier, I view a political commercial as a complete work. As far
as using a part of a story, what if the part you wanted to use included 10
seconds of the only live footage of the bomb actually going off in an
office building bombing?
>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

Stan Diamond,
424 East Foster Avenue 814-861-1537
State College, PA 16801
Resume available at:
"Our greatest glory consists, not in never falling, but in rising
every time we fall." (Oliver Goldsmith)