Film or Motion Media Copying and Performance/Display
Students Multimedia Projects
Conservative guidelines allow use of
10% or 3 minutes of motion media, whichever is less, if
the project is created for a
specific course and is shown in the course and/or is incorporated in a portfolio for later personal uses
(job interviews, graduate school applications).
If it is a musical video, then the guidelines are 10% (no more than 30 seconds).
Faculty Multimedia Projects
Conservative, but not legally binding,
guidelines allow use of
10% or 3 minutes of motion media, whichever is less, for
up to two years before obtaining permission for teaching, if:
the project is a teaching
tool for face-to-face, online classes and directed studies
students are advised that
they cannot copy presentations
online sessions are limited
to students enrolled in sessions
online sessions use
technology to prevent copying or in its absence faculty post
projects for 15 days after their initial real-time or assigned use
followed by access to a copy in the library or similar location
for on-site use only
If it is a musical video, then the guidelines are
10% (no more than 30 seconds).
Although the process of securing permissions
should begin immediately if the multimedia teaching tool will
be used for more than two years, other uses do not have the same prescribed time
limits: use in presentations at workshops and
conferences and in personal portfolios (tenure reviews, job applications).
Media Services Policies regarding Videotaping
Videotapes produced by faculty for use in their classes must
contain visuals, audio and clips that are copyright free.
Media Services does not duplicate copyrighted videotapes, CDs or
DVDs. If faculty gets written permission from the copyright
holder, the department will duplicate the medium.
Any videotaping of guest speakers, who come to campus and is
video recorded, requires a signed
For more information on Media Services, visit the
Integrated Media Center page and/or contact Cynthia
Faculty Distance Education Materials
The Teach Act allows
faculty to convert analog copies to digital if the amount converted is
comparable to what that may be legally performed or displayed as outlined above
and if a digital copy is either unavailable or available but secured by
technology that prevents uses that copyright law allows.
For multimedia projects and
other uses, several sites list films in the public domain films,
which may be used without requesting permission.
Copying Works (copying entire works)
Except for off-air broadcasts, library copying of news programs, library copying of owned materials for preservation
(or for obsolete formats for which players are no longer available at a fair price), and
limited digitizing of slide collections,
the copying of entire works is a clear copyright violation.
Equipment used to copy videotapes should include a notice such as:
VIDEOTAPED MATERIALS ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT. 17 U.S.C.
UNAUTHORIZED COPYING MAY BE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Off Air Recording (radio or television)
Guidelines for off-air recording
(PDF file, p.22) of broadcast programming for educational
purposes was developed by a Negotiating Committee of educators,
copyright owners, and creative guilds appointed in March 1979 by
Congressman Robert Kastenmeier, chairman of the House
Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and Administration of
Justice. These guidelines address broadcast, not pay-TV,
Covering formal classroom/instructional and homebound instruction, the
guidelines require that off-air recordings:
- be made simultaneous with the broadcast transmission
- be for use in non-profit educational institutions
- be made by or at the request of individual teachers,
copied in limited numbers to meet each teacher's needs, and include the
copyright notice of the broadcast program
- be made one time
- be left intact, not altered
- be kept no more than 45 consecutive calendar days
- be destroyed or erased after 45 consecutive calendar days
- be shown in the first ten days after made by individual
teachers and usually one time, two if essential for instructional reinforcement
- be used by teachers after the first ten school-session days only to evaluate their inclusion in the curriculum
Displaying legally obtained copies of audio-visual works for
instructional purposes, without requesting permission, is fine provided that
the performance is:
- by instructors. guest lecturers, or students
- in connection with face-to-face or distance education instruction*
- for an audience that is directly involved in the teaching activity
- delivered in a classroom or place devoted to instruction (library, workshop space, etc.)
In a few limited cases, it is possible to copy a broadcast
even if it exceeds fair use guidelines. For instance, if a PBS
broadcast airs tonight, will be available for sale, but is perfect for
tomorrow's class, it could be copied and shown but would then need to be
deleted and a copy purchased for use in future classes.
Act, which updates earlier restrictions on performing works in
other than face-to-face classrooms, allows the performance or display of
any work in an amount comparable to that displayed in the course of a live
classroom session (in some cases, entire videos when essential to a course,
e.g., The Films of John Ford).
Showing a rented film or any film with a "For Home Use Only"
label generates controversy, as does much of copyright law and practice.
As do other universities, this university:
- considers a rented film a legally obtained film
- considers the library an extension of the classroom
- determines that fair use, which permits display and performance for
instructional purposes, takes precedence over home use only restrictions
Fair use supports a wide range of instructional needs as well as reasonable limits
on those needs. What it does not support is showing films to the larger public, which is not part of
classroom activities, or showing films to entertain students. Both would
violate copyright law and both require
copyright permission prior to performance.
A helpful tutorial on copyright and audiovisual material:
The Center for Social Media at American University provides
an array of information: documentary filmmaker's interpretations of fair use,
fair use scenarios, and opportunities to blog:
Public Domain Movies and Film
provides readily available films for downloading, copying, and performing.
The Internet Moving Image Archive
includes more than 1,000 educational, advertising, industrial and amateur films made from
1927 with an option to purchase broadcast quality copies.
lists host sites to which licensed video can be posted and on which it can be found.
Performance of or Showing
Films in the Classroom - a from American Library Association (ALA) and Association of Research
Libraries (ARL) providing guidance on digital delivery of content to the physical classroom.