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Copyright and Fair Use

Summary of Off-Air Guidelines 

The guidelines apply only to non-profit educational institutions.

A program may be recorded off-air and retained by the school for forty-five (45) consecutive days. However, the program may be used for instructional activities only during the first ten (10) consecutive school days following the recording. During these ten (10) days, the program may be used once in the course of teaching, and repeated once only when reinforcement is necessary. The rest of the retention period, up to the end of the forty-five (45) days, is to be used for teacher evaluation purposes only, i.e., to determine whether or not to include the program in the teaching curriculum. During this time permission to retain the program for a longer period of time must be sought. Upon conclusion of the forty-five (45) days, the recording must be erased.

Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of individual teachers, and may not be recorded in anticipation of requests. A given teacher cannot request the same program be recorded more than once.

A limited number of copies of the recording may be made. These copies are subject to the same provisions as the original recording.

Off-air recordings need not be used in their entirety, but they may not be altered from their original content. They may not be combined to create teaching anthologies.

Film to Video Transfers

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act goes much further in allowing such duplication. The term "phono record" has been extended to include the terms "copy" and "work" in addition to "phono record". In some cases, the law allows duplication of up to 3 copies.

BUT there are limitations.

1. The law applies ONLY to libraries and/or archives. (One argument for wrapping the media collection into the institution's library holdings).

2. The duplication is non-commercial (NO, you cannot duplication your copies of "El Norte" or "Race for the Double Helix" to sell to others).

3. Your collection is open to the public. (That does NOT mean available for LOAN... only that others may, at least, use your collection on site).

4. The duplicated copy includes a copyright notice, either from the original, or a new notice that it may be protected by copyright.

5. The institution already owns a copy. (No borrowing from another institution to make a copy for your institution).

6. Good faith effort has been conducted to obtain an UNUSED copy at a REASONABLE price. (Strong encouragement to document your efforts.)

7. This last point is one of the most hotly contested issues (it was in the older version of the copyright law as well) "New old stock" of media is rare. And "reasonable" is not defined.

For purposes of this subsection, a format shall be considered obsolete if 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.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA")


Association of College and Research Libraries Guidelines for Media Resources in Academic Libraries


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