Technology refers to many forms of media, including computer software, the internet, music, television and videos. For the sake of this discussion we will be looking at how videos are protected by copyright. According to Bonnie Thompson, LMS, Review and Evaluation Center of AACPS, the most challenging facet of copyright for schools is the use of videos.
The three documents which regulate the use of technology are the Copyright Act, the Teach Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We will go into more details on the Copyright Act in a minute. The TEACH Act updates the Copyright Act, and is usually applied to distance learning and higher education. The acronym TEACH stands for Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization Act. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act updated the Copyright Act to protect internet and digital technologies, such as copying software and requesting use of copyright protected materials online.
Copyright Act focuses on the rights of producers of audio-visual materials. Audio-visual materials, as defined by the Copyright Act, are “works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines….” So what does this definition mean? Essentially, it describes film, video, DVD, music, online resources, television, cable and computer software.
When we purchase any audio-visual material, such as a video or DVD, a portion of the cost is given to the copyright holder. If we all were to copy these works without paying for them, clearly the copyright holder’s rights and potential profit are being abused. The Copyright Act also protects against the unlawful public performance of copyrighted works. Only the copyright holder has the right to publicly perform his/her work. According to the law, public performance is defined as “to display it at a place open to the public where a substantial number of persons outside the normal circle of family is gathered.” Because public schools are “public” and not a private home, all showing of audio-visual works are considered public performance and fall under the confines of the law.
Fair Use is a conditional guideline which works in conjunction with the Copyright Law, with special provisions for teachers and educational settings. There are four factors which are considered when determining if the use of a copyrighted work is fair use. Those are: a. non-profit educational institution, using the material for criticism, commentary or news reporting, b. Nature of the copyrighted work including if it is factual or creative, published or unpublished. c. How much of the work will be used. The less used, the better. When the courts review your case, they will look at how much of the video you used. D. The effect of your use on the value of the work. If your use, and unlawful copying decreases the amount of potential profit afforded the copyright holder, the courts will decide in favor of the copyright holder. Only the courts can decide this point of fair use.
How does all of this information relate to the use of videos? If you can answer “yes” to the following questions and can support the topic with a lesson plan, you are probably covered by fair use. Legally obtained copy simply means that you (or the school) have paid for the video/DVD and have not made a copy of someone else’s video. It can also mean that if you copied a show on television/cable, that you have shown your tape within 45 days of the broadcast of the show on television. If you are outside the 45 day window, you are infringing on the copyright holder’s rights. With respect to the topic being part of the lesson being taught, documentation is key. If your lesson plan can show the correlation of the video topic to the current lesson, then you will be covered.
One of the most common copyright problems associated with the use of videos, according to Bonnie Thompson, is the showing of videos for reward or entertainment. According to Carol Simpson, use of videos in K-12 schools is second to the offenses of the photocopy machine. Just because your students have successfully completed MSA tests, or made it to Friday and not made you want to turn in your teaching certificate, are not valid reasons for showing a video. It is an infringement of copyright law to make a back-up copy of a video (unless the video is no longer available in any medium). And it is also an infringement to attempt to change the medium. For example, if the material is on laser disk, you cannot copy it onto DVD or video because it would be easier to use. You also cannot copy from VHS to DVD for the same reason. You can tape television/cable shows for limited use in the classroom. However, you are limited by the number of times you show the video, and the number of days past the time when the show was broadcast on television. In addition, you cannot tape the show in advance of using it in a class you might teach in the future. The only way that a movie can be shown after school, is if you can answer “yes” to the five questions posed earlier. The video anthology refers to combining snippets of videos on the same tape. Movies shown on charter buses used for long field trips, must adhere to the five questions posed earlier. Otherwise, it is an infringement. While it might be tempting to show a video to calm the students during indoor recess, it is considered copyright infringement.
According to Bonnie Thompson, we are promoters, there to inform the educators of the guidelines. However, my principal, Sharon Ferralli, takes a slightly different stance to this question. She sees the Library Media Specialist as the informer, enforcer and cop all rolled into one.
Just as with other aspects of our position as Library Media Specialist, we are going to be required to wear many “hats” on a daily basis. With all due respect to our instructors, perhaps the best test for us, is how we handle each of these “hats”. Regardless of our position or task at hand, we need to keep in mind the precious relationship we will have with the teachers, who look to us for enhancement of their given curricula.
While it may seem impossible that a representative from the Copyright Office of the United States government would walk into your classroom and catch you violating copyright law, you never know when a student will innocently enough tell their parents about the video they saw at school today. While most of these cases are settled out of court, you certainly don’t want this kind of information in your permanent personnel file.
Several years ago I worked for a Library Media Specialist who used this old saying a lot. And for the most part, he was correct, except when it comes to copyright law. Take the extra steps to ask for permission beforehand, and encourage your teachers to do the same. Are there any questions?
Technology and Copyright (PowerPoint Presentation)
Question - <ul><li>Understanding that our job description should probably not include “copyright cop”, to what extent is the library media specialist responsible for enforcing copyright law with respect to technology? </li></ul>
So, What is Technology? <ul><li>Computer Software </li></ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Sound Recordings </li></ul><ul><li>TV/Cable </li></ul><ul><li>Videos/DVDs/Video Streaming </li></ul>
How is technology protected by copyright? <ul><li>Copyright Act and Fair Use </li></ul><ul><li>Title 17, United States Code, Public Law 94-553, 90 Stat. 2541 </li></ul><ul><li>TEACH Act </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Millennium Copyright Act </li></ul>
Copyright Act and Fair Use <ul><li>Audio-Visual Materials are… </li></ul><ul><li>“ works that consist of a series of related images which are intrinsically intended to be shown by the use of machines, or devices such as projectors, viewers or electronic equipment, together with accompanying sounds, if any, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as films or tapes, in which the works are embodied.” 17USC§101 </li></ul>
Copyright Protection of Technology <ul><li>Protects not only the use of the audio-visual materials, but also the potential loss of profit to the copyright holder. </li></ul><ul><li>Protects against unlawful public performance of copyrighted works. </li></ul><ul><li>“… to display it at a place open to the public, where a substantial number of persons outside the normal circle of family is gathered…” </li></ul>
What is Fair Use? <ul><li>Non-profit educational institution </li></ul><ul><li>Use of work for criticism, commentary or news reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Nature of copyrighted work </li></ul><ul><li>Factual or creative </li></ul><ul><li>Published or unpublished </li></ul><ul><li>How much of the work will be used </li></ul><ul><li>The less used, the better </li></ul><ul><li>Effect of your use on the value of the work. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could your use detract or decrease the potential profit? </li></ul></ul>
How does all of this relate to the use of videos? <ul><li>Are you a non-profit educational institution? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the showing for students and teachers in a regularly scheduled class? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the showing in a classroom, or other instructional place? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you showing a legally obtained copy? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the material being shown as part of a lesson you are teaching? </li></ul>
Common Problems Associated With Video Use in Classrooms: <ul><li>Video shown for reward and entertainment. </li></ul><ul><li>Copying the video and changing the original medium. </li></ul><ul><li>Off-air taping. </li></ul><ul><li>After-school movie showing. </li></ul><ul><li>Making video anthology. </li></ul><ul><li>Charter bus field trip. </li></ul><ul><li>Rainy-day recess. </li></ul>
As Library Media Specialists, are we… Copyright Cops? - Or - Compliance Promoters?
<ul><li>As the Promoter : </li></ul><ul><li>Work with the principal to inform (or re-educate) at beginning of school year. </li></ul><ul><li>Place informative flyers next to video/DVD shelves. </li></ul><ul><li>Share answers to common questions with teachers on a monthly basis – in a newsletter. </li></ul><ul><li>As the Enforcer: </li></ul><ul><li>Keep a log of videos you are asked to show, including a copy of the correlating lesson plan. </li></ul><ul><li>Know the grade level curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>As the Cop: </li></ul><ul><li>Advise the principal of a pattern of questionable use. </li></ul>
What is the possible penalty for infringement? <ul><li>Written reprimand in your personnel file. </li></ul><ul><li>Statutory damages ranging from $750.00 to $30,000.00 (not including court costs) per violation , per day . </li></ul>
In conclusion - <ul><li>The old saying… </li></ul><ul><li>“ it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission” </li></ul><ul><li>… does not apply to copyright law. </li></ul>
Bibliography <ul><li>Simpson, C. (2005). Copyright for schools: A practical guide (4 th ed.). Worthington: Linworth. </li></ul><ul><li>Simpson, C. (2005). Copyright catechism practical answers to everyday school dilemmas. Worthington: Linworth. </li></ul><ul><li>B. Thompson, Library Media Specialist, Review and Evaluation, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (personal communication, May 8, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>S. Ferralli, Principal, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (personal communication, May 9, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Print and nonprint media and the copyright law. (1994). Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Library Media Services. </li></ul><ul><li>United States Copyright Office. (2006). Retrieved May 4, 2006, from http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html . </li></ul>