use of video clips in student work

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  • If a student uses short video clips taken from the web, as part of a thesis or project, to argue a case or point, are they commiting copyright infringements?
  • As always, it depends on the circumstances. You have to examine questions like- how much of the whole are the clips using? How many people are seeing it? How is the work being distributed? And so on. Can you provide more specific information? If you search for "Fair Use' on the board you'll get an idea of how different people look at the subject.
  • basically a student is making a comparison between Pele and Maradonna as to who is considered the best football player in the world. They have used interviews with professional players and also approx. 3 video clips per player of about 20 seconds in length to support their argument. The paper is marked internaly within the school and then sent to an external exam board for moderation. We do not wish to send a piece of work off that infringes upon copyright-hence my question. Appreciate your help
  • It seems very likely to me that the actual use of these clips falls into the section 110(1) exception for face-to-face teaching, where a pupil is making a performance or display as part of instructional activities at (I am assuming) a non-profit educational institution. The fact that a thesis or project may be hashed out in an instructor's office rather than a classroom makes little difference, given the reference to "similar place[s] devoted to instruction."

    If that is true, only the actually copying of the clips need rely on the less certain analysis of fair use, and that anaylsis is strengthened by the fact that the purpose of the incidental copying is to avail oneself of an explicitly authorized educational use. Furthermore, the clips are short and are, presumably, taken from reports of public events (soccer matches). The use described by chrjowalk would also have no discernable impact on a market for the original, given the very limited distribution of the project.

    I note, however, the use of "football" to describe what most Americans would call "soccer," as I did above. If the use described is outside of the US, fair use (and section 110) analysis might not be appropriate, and chrjowalk would have to consider exceptions within their own national copyright law.

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