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Copyright Essentials

Public Performance Rights

Regarding the public showing of films on campus, the sponsoring program or club must obtain permission and pay whatever fee the copyright holder charges. See the guide below about obtaining the right to show a film publicly.

To advertise a showing of a feature film to the campus community constitutes a public performance that requires permission, regardless to whether admission is charged.

A group viewing when it is a face-to-face teaching situation requires that the showing take place in a classroom or Library room with an instructor present.  These constitute a fair use of a copyrighted dvd whether the film is a documentary or a feature film.  These are not public performance. 

Library's Licensed Streaming Film Collections

All streaming films appear in the library catalog, thus they are searchable. It is best when searching for a streaming film by topic to use the advanced search function of the catalog. Here is a tutorial on using advanced search  to search for a streaming video by keyword in the library catalog. It's a bit tricky.

If you want to search or browse through one of the collections below, click the link below and explore!

Digitizing VHS Documentaries

A VHS tape can be copied as VHS, or transferred to another format, and added to the library collection in certain situations. With the phasing out of the VHS format, a digital format (streaming or DVD) is the preferred new physical format of the copy. Keep in mind that digital streaming rights do not come with VHS titles (nor with DVD purchases).  Only titles for which the Library has purchased a streaming license can be streamed.

The Falcone Library can authorize the digitization of VHS tapes onto DVD format if the campus library is the holder of the materials—both the original and the new digital copy, it is a documentary (feature films are excluded from this determination unless the film is in the public domain), if the title is not available in the marketplace, and the stipulations below are followed. Any copying of VHS recordings by individuals using their own equipment or borrowed equipment is an act that likely infringes on copyright of the rights holder and for which they personally are liable, and not the College.

A fair use assessment is required to determine whether a VHS can be transferred to DVD (digital) format. All 4 fair use factors need not be satisfied; one seeks a balance. If it is determined that the VHS is for educational purposes, the film is fact-based (not a feature film), it is not available in the marketplace as a DVD, 3 of the 4 factors are satisfied. The fourth fair use factor, the amount of the work, is permitted only where it complies with Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law.

The 2012 Code of Best Pracitices for Academic & Research Libraries (pp.18-19) and Copyright Law (section 108) provide for the following for academic library collections. Section 108 of Copyright Law provides for libraries to make copies for preservation purposes.  Thus a VHS qualifies for the exemption under Section 108 because it is a format for which wear and/or damage is likely and where the availability of VHS players is on the decline.

  • The VHS must a legally obtained copy held by the Library. (If item is an off-air taping, it has to have been done by the College’s classroom services.)

  • The material must be unavailable in any other format in the marketplace.

  • F2F class use only for the DVD.

  • Use/circulate one copy only simultaneously, not both the archival and the digital simultaneously.

  • Lend, use, show digital copy only to affiliated users of campus and scholars.  (Special patrons cannot use—in-house, nor via circulation outside the Library facility.)

To find a comparable title in the Library's streaming video collections. Ask your librarian. Failing this, then the determination must be made as above.

Section 108 Spinner

Reproduction by and for libraries are allowed under certain conditions. Use this tool developed by Michael Brewer, American Library Association Office for ITP, to determine when it is proper to reproduce copyrighted material.