Re: Personal copies of videos on reserve

Chris Lewis (clewis@american.edu)
Wed, 28 Oct 1998 13:06:25 -0500

Regarding the placing of off-air copies of commercially-unavailable programs on

reserve. It happens here at AU though we have a release form professors are
required to sign that avers the materials they put on reserve are legally
obtained and furthermore the professor is responsible in case there are any
copyright violations. I know the second clause indicates we believe the first
clause may be ignored. Would this stand up in court? No way. Is it a deterrent?

I hope so. If nothing else, it indicates that we are not accessories in
supporting the use of illegal dubs. I am not actively policing the reserve
shelves but when one of these cases arises, I will personally inform the
professor of the off-air taping restrictions and tell him/her that repeated use

of an off-air program, though commercially unavailable, cannot be supported by
the library. I understand their needs to provide the best material available
for their classes but I feel, as a librarian, there is no interpretation of
copyright law that permits this kind of use. I have never had resistance to the

suggestion that illegal off-air tapings should be kept by the individual
professor and used at their own risk. As Seargent Schultz said, "I see nothing,

I know nothing".

Chris Lewis
American U