Using DVD's on e-reserve

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  • I have a professor who wants to have the DVD’s supplied in the teacher’s version of a textbook converted to a compressed file to be placed on e-reserve. The students are required to purchase the student copy of the book, but it does not include the DVD. I have asked the publisher for permission, but as of yet, haven’t received a response. Can I proceed under the assumption that at least this one semester, while I am waiting for a response from the publisher, we can use it under fair use?
  • Hi, Juju.

    My short answer to your question is that your decisions to change the format of this material and post it online (or not to do so) depend upon your organization’s risk tolerance.

    My long answer follows:

    Electronic reserves do not fit into a specific copyright limitation, so you are correct that your alternative is to rely on fair use. I’ve written a rough fair use analysis below. It is my personal, non-legal opinion based upon limited information. Other thoughts are welcome.

    Purpose of use – Educational. (This favors fair use.)

    Nature of work – Unknown. It may be considered creative.

    Amount of work used – Unknown.

    Effect on market of work – Unknown. The teacher’s edition of an educational text is usually used only by the teacher, not the students. So as long as the teacher has purchased his/her copy of the book, that sale is not affected. However, if enough of the teacher’s edition is used by each student, it might be said that the students ought to purchase their own copy of the work.

    To summarize, it would help to have more information. Does the DVD include highly creative work? How much of it does the professor want students to access? How long would you leave it on e-reserve?

    It’s too bad the publisher hasn’t (yet) replied to your permission request. If you decide to place the DVD online, you might consider the following precautions:

    1. Place only a limited portion of the DVD content online.

    2. Leave the DVD content online for a limited time.

    3. Restrict access to the online content to students enrolled in a specific course.

    4. Include copyright notices in your e-reserve pages.

    5. A more conservative approach would be not to place the content on e-reserve, but have students view the DVD in the library. (This way, your institution would not be altering the format, copying the content, or distributing the content.)

    Finally, much of what I’ve read about e-reserves addresses text and still images. Does anyone have additional thoughts about DVDs and other digital media?

  • MFakouri,

    Thank you for your reply.

    The DVD’s are for a marketing class and are not considered to be a “creative” work. They contain clips of an announcer discussing what appear to be case studies. It seems to me that the publisher intended for them to be shown in the classroom. I believe the instructor wants to post all of the segments on the DVD’s. I offered the professor the option to put them on hard copy reserve in the library, but she really want to make more easily available through on-line access. (Being that we have a diverse student population that may or may not be located on campus, I would really like to support her.)

    1. Our system would limit access to only enrolled students, about 14.
    2. They would only be available for the semester in which she intends to use them.
    3. All items posted have a copyright noticed attached to them.

    This isn’t the first time I have had questions about posting video for e-reserve, and I agree with you, most of what I have read has addressed text and still images.

    I am attending the Copyright at a Crossroads conference next week and participating in the pre-conference workshop on E-reserves, perhaps I can bring this question up there.

    Juju :=)
  • This may not even be a question of copyright--things like this are usually addressed in a licensing agreement when the textbooks are purchased. Educational publishers are quite aware of the needs of the instructor and address these issues beforehand. Everytime I have had a CD/DVD with a textbook that the instructor wanted to do something with, there was a license somewhere.

    Having thus said, I would do it until I heard back from the publisher.

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