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Copyright and Fair Use

Information on copyright law and fair use in an academic setting.

Common Scenerios - Video Recordings (VHS Cassette Tapes, DVDs)

Showing a Videotape for Classroom Instruction

SCENARIO 12: A teacher wishes to show a copyrighted motion picture to her class for instructional purposes.

FAIR USE? Yes, since it is for classroom instruction and no admission fee is charged. Tuition and course fees do not constitute admission fees.

Copying a Videotape for Classroom Instruction

SCENARIO 13: A teacher makes a copy of the videotape described in SCENARIO 12 for a colleague to show in her class at the same time.

FAIR USE? No. The teacher may lend her personal copy of the videotape to a colleague for this purpose.

Renting a Videotape That Is in the Public Domain for Nonclassroom Use

SCENARIO 14: A professor wishes to raise funds for a scholarship. She rents a videocassette of a motion picture on which the copyright has expired and charges admission fees.

FAIR USE? Yes. The copyright of the motion picture has expired, which places the motion picture in the public domain.

Renting a Videotape That Is Copyright-Protected for Nonclassroom Use

SCENARIO 15: The facts are the same as those in SCENARIO 14 except that the movie is protected by copyright.

FAIR USE? No,  because it infringes the copyright owner's right to market the work.

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