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Copyright, Fair Use & the Library

Learn about Fair Use

Public Performance Rights

The first sale exception (§109) of copyright and other limitation to the owner's exclusive rights that allow libraries to lend, preserve and replace videos and allow non-profit educational institutions the right to publicly perform videos in the face-to-face classroom, and under certain conditions, in the distance educational classroom via digital networks.

Public Performance Rights (PPR) are one of the copyright owner's exclusive rights that are protected by copyright law; in order to publicly exhibit a video required obtaining permissions from the copyright holders. Showing media to groups outside of the classroom context without obtaining PPR could be a violation of copyright law.

Public performances of a video/DVD in the face-to-face classroom is an exception to the public performance right §110 (1) and therefore lawful. The following conditions apply:

·      The teaching activities are conducted by a non-profit education institution

·      The performance is in connection with face-to-face teaching activities.

·      The performance takes place in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction.

·      The videotape is acquired legally through purchase.

The companies below can be contacted in order to obtain PPR.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, which was passed in 1998 that created a new protection on copyrighted materials through "circumventing" "technological protection measures". As stated in Section 1201 Circumvention of copyright protection systems, no person shall  descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or to bypass,remove or deactivate a technological measure that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work and that is considered a copyright violation. 

The 2010 DMCA exemption for DVD use regarding "Circumvention of Access-Control Technologies" provides some provisions for the higher education institution:  

"Circumvention of the encryption on a DVD is not a violation of the DMCA when circumvention is accomplished solely in order to accomplish the incorporation of short portions of motion pictures into new works for the purpose of criticism or comment, and where the person engaging in circumvention believes and has reasonable grounds for believing that circumvention is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the use in the following instances:

  1. Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students;
  2. Documentary filmmaking;
  3. Noncommercial videos"

Note that these provisions only apply to students in film and media studies; students in other fields of study may be covered by the Documentary filmmaking or Noncommercial Video exemptions. These exemptions do not apply to ripping content from Blu-Ray discs or other encrypted media other than DVD.

The 2010 DMCA exemptions require that the purpose of the use has to make "new works for the purpose of criticism or comment" out of "short portions" of existing DVD content. Otherwise, circumventing technological protection measures to copy from the DVD may be a violation of the DMCA.

Example of Transformative Use of DVD

DJ Earworm - United State of Pop 2009