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Copyright: Copyright F.A.Q.
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Copyright: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I tape a program on television and show it to my class?
Answer: Yes, if the show is taped from broadcast TV and is shown within ten (10) school days after the taping from broadcast TV, then it would fall under the 45-day Guideline and would be acceptable. The teacher can keep the tape for 45 days before deciding whether to erase the tape or whether to ask for permission to keep the tape and show it to future classes.

Source: Circular 21 Reproduction of Copyrighted Works for Educators and Librarians p. 22 (PDF)


Can an instructor rent a video/DVD from a local rental store to show it in class?
Answer: Yes, it is allowable for a faculty member to rent a video to show in a classroom, as long as these criteria are met:
  • the class has to be part of the systematic instruction, meaning that students are taking the class for credit toward a degree

  • the educational institution must be nonprofit ( Washtenaw Community College is nonprofit)

  • the content of the video shown must relate to the content of the class being taught (i.e., no showing videos to class just for fun)

  • only students in the class, instructors, and guest instructors may be present to watch the videos n the video is shown face-to-face, not broadcast (although there are also some exceptions for broadcasting portions of videos under the TEACH Act)

Source: Section 110(1) of the Copyright Law


Can an instructor make an archival copy of his/her commercial video/DVD/slide/audio cassette?
Answer: No, unless you request permission to do so. The only exception is for computer software. The license agreement for software usually states that you have the right to load the software on one computer and make a back-up copy. However, the law does allow you to convert an obsolete format such as VHS or DVD if a replacement cannot be purchased in the marketplace.

Obsolete is defined by DMCA as, "The machine or device necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace." As of this writing, VHS is not yet considered obsolete.

If your video copy is damaged the only option is to repair the damaged video or purchase a new copy.

Source: Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, Section 404


Can an instructor make a duplicate copy of a video/DVD from the Library's collection to show in class?
Answer: No, this would be a violation of copyright law. The instructor can purchase a copy of the video/DVD or borrow the Library's copy to show in a face-to-face classroom provided that s/he follows the Fair Use Guidelines.

Source: Copyright Right Law


Can an instructor copy clips from various videos to one compilation video that s/he can use in the classroom?
Answer: Yes/No. Refer back to four factors of Fair Use and the type of works in question. There are three fair use options that would allow an instructor to make a compilation of videos for classroom use. Factor One Purpose of the use factor - it is for teaching (not for profit and educational.) Factor Three The amount being used - small portions are copied. Factor Four Effect on the Market - If the instructor is using lawfully acquired videos there is no impact on the market. Assuming that the instructor has reviewed the market and found that no compilation is available for sale that meets her/his needs. Factor Two Nature of the Publication weighs against fair use if these are "fictional" works. The correct answer to this question must be addressed on a case by case basis.

Source: Copyright Law Fair Use Section


Can an instructor show a film to his/her student group on campus?
Answer: Yes, if you request permission to show the film in public. Showing a film to a student group is a public performance even if no fee is charged. A college function does not fall under the Fair Use Guidelines. Review guidelines below:
  • the audiovisual, the DVD or Video, must be a lawfully made copy.

  • the students must be part of a classroom instruction, meaning that students are taking the class for credit towards a degree

  • the educational institution must be nonprofit (Washtenaw Community College is nonprofit)

  • the content of the video shown must relate to the content of the class being taught (i.e., no showing videos to class just for fun)

  • only students in the class, instructors, and guest instructors may be present to watch the videos

  • the video is shown face-to-face, not broadcast (although there are also some exceptions for broadcasting portions of videos under the TEACH Act)

Source: Copyright Law Section 110


Can the college show a film in a public area at no cost to its students?
Answer: Yes, if you request permission to show the film in public. Review guidelines below to fall under Fair Use:
  • the audiovisual, the DVD or Video, must be a lawfully made copy

  • the class has to be part of the systematic instruction, meaning that students are taking the class for credit toward a degree

  • the educational institution must be nonprofit (Washtenaw Community College is nonprofit)

  • the content of the video shown must relate to the content of the class being taught (i.e., no showing videos to class just for fun)

  • only students in the class, instructors, and guest instructors may be present to watch the videos

  • the video is shown face-to-face, not broadcast (although there are also some exceptions for broadcasting portions of videos under the TEACH Act)

WCC's Library makes every effort to purchase videos/DVDs with public performance rights. This is done on a title by title basis. There are hundreds of media vendors and not all vendors provide the option to purchase a new title with public performance rights. PBS is one exemption that allows educational institutions to show their audiovisual materials to the public.

Source: Copyright Law Section 110


Can an instructor convert his/her video to DVD to show to an on-campus class?
Answer: No. Converting from one format to another for the convenience of the instructor does not fall under Fair Use Guidelines. An instructor must first contact the producers for availability of new format. If the new format is available, the instructor or Library will purchase the title. The DMCA Section 404 does allow for the conversion of obsolete formats into current technology (for example BETA tapes.)

Source: The DMCA Section 404





  1. Can I tape a program on television and show it to my class?

  2. Can an instructor rent a video/DVD from a local rental store to show it in class?

  3. Can an instructor make an archival copy of his/her commercial video/DVD/slide/audio cassette?

  4. Can an instructor make a duplicate copy of a video/DVD from the Library's collection to show in class?

  5. Can an instructor copy clips from various videos to one compilation video that s/he can use in the classroom?

  6. Can an instructor show a film to his/her student group on campus?

  7. Can the college show a film in a public area at no cost to its students?

  8. Can an instructor convert his/her video to DVD to show to an on-campus class?

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