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Copyright Policy for Film and Video

  • Classroom use
  • Use outside the classroom
  • Copying and off-air recording

Classroom use

Copyrighted audiovisual works include both digital and traditional film and video formats.

Owning a film or video does not confer the right to show the work. The copyright owner specifies, at the time of purchase or rental, the circumstances in which a film or video may be "performed". However, section 110 (1) of the Copyright Act of 1976 created a "face-to-face" exception that allows an educator to perform a work (including home use video) in class, if:

  • you show it as part of the instructional program.
  • the relationship between the film or video and the course is explicit.
  • you do not show it for entertainment or recreational purposes, without the copyright holder's permission, whatever the work's intellectual content.
  • only instructors, guest lecturers, or students show it.
  • you show it only to students and educators.
  • you show a legitimate copy with the copyright notice included.
  • you show it either in a classroom or other school location devoted to instruction such as a studio, workshop, library, gymnasium, or auditorium if it is used for instruction.
  • you show it either in a face-to-face setting or where students and teacher(s) are in the same building or general area. 

Use outside the classroom

Students, faculty or staff can view college-owned films and videos at workstations or in small-group rooms in the library. You may also watch these videos at home or in a residence hall room if no more than a few friends are involved. 

Larger audiences, such as groups that might assemble in a residence hall or fraternity/sorority living room, must have explicit permission from the copyright owner for "public performance" rights. Consult the Colket Center (378-5125)  regarding procedures to obtain permission for a public performance. 

Copying and off-air recording

You can only copy videotapes with the copyright owner's permission; all other copying is illegal. An exception is made for libraries to replace a work that is lost or damaged if another copy cannot be obtained at a fair price.

If you do not have a formal license agreement, the Guidelines for Off-the Air Recording of Broadcast Programming for Educational Purposes, an official part of the Copyright Act's legislative history, applies to most off-air recording. If several instructors request videotaping of the same program, duplicate copies can be made to meet the need; all copies have the same restrictions as the original recording. You should remember that:

  • "off-air" means the program, when broadcast, could be picked up by a non-cable television set (using "rabbit ear" antenna) at the time of recording. Programs from cable sources, such as HBO, A&E, etc., are not considered "off-air" and must be licensed. 
  • you can show videotaped recordings to students only within the first 10 school days of the 45-day retention period, set forth below.
  • you can only keep videotaped recordings for no more than 45 calendar days after the recording date, at which time you must erase the tapes. Only instructors can view the taped recordings after the 10-day period  for evaluation purposes, that is, to determine whether to include the broadcast program in the curriculum in the future.
  • off-air recordings are made only at the request of an individual instructor for instructional purposes, not by staff in anticipation of later requests.
  • you can show the recordings to students only two times during the 10-day period, and the second time only for necessary instructional reinforcement.
  • you do not have to show the recording in its entirety. However, you cannot physically or electronically alter or combine off-air recordings to form anthologies.
  • you must include, for off-air recordings, the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded.