Fair Use of Videos

← Return to forum

  • I have planned to show a film at the ALA conference in Chicago this summer. I have been trying to get a hold of the film's distributor and
    producer for several months now via e-mail and through the post, but with no response. I have a copy of this film. I will not be charging admission. This is for educational purposes only. Can I show this film, in its entirety, without written authorization?

    Many thanks for any advise.
  • I'm sure I can't answer completely authoritatively, but I know when I was teaching that even to show videos in class we had to buy the mulitiple users license of the video. (E.g. $200 vs. $20) I'm not sure if you would need to do the same for this summer's program, but you might want to check out the different types of licensing. Of course, IMHO, fair use is fair use and would bypass this need. I'm not really sure I have an answer for you, it seems I've just raised questions. Good luck!
  • It has been suggested in some library/education conferences that this type of use is allowable, particularly since you've made an effort to find the original. Carrie Rusell's Complete Copyright suggests the following, taken from Kenneth Crews directory of Copyright Management Center at Indiana University:

    1. Reevaluate your fair use assessment. If you think it's fair, you should be able to use it.
    2. Use a different work that does the samet thing that you can use.
    3. Use the work in a lesser way, which can help fair use arguments.
    4. Decided if you're willing to risk it. The risk might be very slight.
  • If it were a continuing ed program through a library system or at a public university, I would agree with your fair use/educational assumptions. But since it is at an ALA conference, those guidelines may not apply. ALA is not a non-profit educational institution. And, while you won't be charging for your individual session, members do pay to attend the full conference. Some of the proceeds from the conference go back to fund ALA operations which in turn uses some for lobbying purposes (which is why they can't maintain not-for-profit status). So, while your presentation has noble and innocous intent, the ice nonetheless thins out under your "fair use" argument.
  • I think we need a little more information about the video and why you want to show it. If the screening is for "fun," the fair use argument is harder to make. (I couldn't make it). It's true that ALA conference are not "pure" non-profit, educational - but ALA is not a commercial entity like a video rental store or a first run theatre. So give a little more context for your query.

    I've shown films before at ALA events, but luckily I had the filmmakers right there with me and they did not transfer their rights to a publisher or other vendor.

    One thing I am sure about (referring to another reply to this question)- you do not need public performance rights when you show a movie in the classroom for true curriculum purposes. (Section 110(a))

Posting to the forum is only available to users who are logged in.

← Return to forum