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Copyright and Fair Use in the Library: Educational Multimedia

Guidelines for Using Educational Multimedia

While the Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians may allow the use of part or all of copyrighted works in the classroom, duplication of copyrighted media, even in an academic setting, may be a violation of copyright law. All of these rights are subject to fair use guidelines, depending on the purpose of the use, the nature of the work, the amount used, and the effect the use has on the market.
The faculty may display or perform portions of various copyrighted media, such as movies clips, music, text materials and images into their teaching or  assignment for a specific course under the guidelines listed below (These guidelines were created based on the report to the Commissioner on the conclusion of The Conference on Fair Use):
  • Using Movie or film clips from copyrighted motion media up to ten percent of the total length or three minutes, whichever is less
  • Using music, lyrics or musical video from copyrighted musical work up to ten percent of the work but no more than thirty seconds of individual musical work
  • Using photographs and illustrations from a published collective work up to 10% or not more than five images from one artist or photographer.
  • No more than two copies of educational multimedia projects may be made that including the original copy of work. Only one copy of the project may be placed on reserve.
  • Image digitization is for a spontaneous use in teaching activities and don't preserve as part of the institution's image collection. (Permission is usually required for any reuse of digitized images).
  • If used under fair use guidelines, copyrighted materials can be used in multimedia project for two years without permission. After two years, permission is required in order to reuse in the multimedia project.

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 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 Public Performance Rights 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.

 Contact one of these companies to obtain  Public Performance Rights or to show a copyrighted film in a public setting

·      Swank Motion Pictures, Inc.

·      Criterion Pictures, USA

·      Kino International

·      The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation 

·      Movie Licensing USA

·      New Yorker Films


Guidelines for Educational Use of Music

The following guidelines were developed and approved in April 1976 by the Music Publishers’ Association of the United States, Inc., the National Music Publishers’ Association, Inc., the Music Teachers National Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the Ad Hoc Committee on Copyright Law Revision.
The following guidelines are permissible for Educational Use of Music:

1 Emergency copying to replace purchased copies which for any reason are not available for an imminent performance provided purchased replacement copies shall be substituted in due course.
2 For academic purposes other than performance, single or multiple copies of excerpts of works may be made, provided that the excerpts do not comprise a part of the whole which would constitute a performable unit such as a section¹, movement or aria, but in no case more than 10 percent of the whole work. The number of copies shall not exceed one copy per pupil.²
3 Printed copies which have been purchased may be edited or simplified provided that the fundamental character of the work is not distorted or the lyrics, if any, altered or lyrics added if none exist.
4 A single copy of recordings of performances by students may be made for evaluation or rehearsal purposes and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher.
5 A single copy of a sound recording (such as a tape, disc, or cassette) of copyrighted music may be made from sound recordings owned by an educational institution or an individual teacher for the purpose of constructing aural exercises or examinations and may be retained by the educational institution or individual teacher. (This pertains only to the copyright of the music itself and not to any copyright which may exist
in the sound recording.)
Prohibited from copying for educational use of music
1 Copying to create or replace or substitute for anthologies, compilations or collective works.
2 Copying of or from works intended to he “consumable” in the course of study or of teaching such as workbooks, exercises, standardized tests and answer sheets and like material.
3 Copying for the purpose of performance, except as in A(1) above.
4 Copying for the purpose of substituting for the purchase of music, except as in A(1) and A(2) above.
5 Copying without inclusion of the copyright notice which appears on the printed copy.

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:
(i) Educational uses by college and university professors and by college and university film and media studies students;
(ii) Documentary filmmaking;
(iii) 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 requires 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