Using foreign off-air broadcast

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  • I have a faculty member who is interested in a documentary that was produced and aired on ABC-TV (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). The documentary was taped off-air and has been added to a number of collections via an Australian copyright provision. If one of the libraries was willing to lend that video, is there a fair use case for making a copy for our scholar?

  • It really depends on what the scholar expects to do with it. If it is for individual research purposes only, making a copy of the portion needed (which could be the whole thing) would seem fair to me (since there would be no impact on the market for the work - since it isn't being commercialized - and it is in service of creating new knowledge). Were this a print work, Section 108 would allow for a copy of the entire work for these purposes and under these circumstances. However, that portion of 108 does not include media as part of the exception. 

  • Has anybody tried to contact ABC-TV or others associated with the documentary? I think there is a much better case for fair use if a duly diligent, good faith attempt has been made to identify and contact the copyright owner(s). Otherwise, I agree with the above.

  • If I understand correctly, the Australian copyright law allows a taped copy of the documentary added to the collections of a library to be a lawful use.  Does the Australian copyright law go any further?  Is the copy restricted to the premises of the library?  can the copy be loaned?  Let's say there is a restriction - then you cannot obtain the copy through interlibrary loan.  If that is the case, can you buy the documentary and add it to the library collection?  That's what I would do.  If you can access the copy via interlibrary loan (and this is the only way that you can obtain a copy), then I agree that a copy made for research or teaching purposes would be a fair use.  

    I would be concerned if there was a restriction on the Australian library's copy.  Then I think you would have to seek permission or try to buy a copy. 



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