Replacement copies of videos

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  • Our library purchased two copies of a British video entitled "Fit
    to Fly" last July. They were made in something called a "PAL" format, so we paid a bit extra so that we could make one VHS copy from each tape we purchased. Now, one of our copies is LOST (from 8/04) and one is overdue (from earlier this month), and we now have a faculty member who wants to show it in class.

    Our Acquisitions librarian contacted the publisher to purchase two more copies with permissions to copy, but was told that the video is no longer available. Apparently, this company is the publisher as well as the distributor.

    The Acquisitions librarian felt from their correspondences with the publisher that since the video is no longer available, they were giving tacit permission to make an additional copy from the ones we purchased previously.

    Our question is: do we need concrete permission to copy or is implied permission OK since we did make every effort to purchase?

    I felt that we should err on the side of caution, so we are now seeking explicit permission from the publisher for making a replacement copy for the one that is lost. We then plan to destroy that copy once the lost video is returned. However, I was curious to see what other's opinions would be in this matter.

    Thank you,

    Liz Davis
    Daytona Beach, FL
  • From first look I wouldn't think you needed permission at all... It sounds like a pretty good case for fair use IMHO, particularly since it's going to be for a face to face showing for an educational purpose, and since it's out of print there's not really an effect on the market. It sounds like it's more of a factual-type than a creative work, too, but even if it wasn't I would think you had a pretty strong fair use showing.

    Of course, since it sounds like you have some kind of license, it would be best to look at the license as well, since you may have waived some uses that you may have had under normal circumstances.
  • It seems to me that you are perfectly justified in your actions, under Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act which provides a limitation for the benefit of libraries and archives, covering several aspects of library activity, including preservation and replacement. Section 108 applies to works in any format. Up to three copies of a published work may be made for the purpose of replacing works that are damaged, deteriorating, lost, or stolen, or if the existing format has become obsolete, if, after reasonable effort, the library or archives has determined that a replacement copy cannot be obtained at a fair price. If the replacement copies are digital, they may not made available outside the premises of the library or archive in lawful possession of the copies. So I agree with the previous posting from cjovalle that you that you do not need permissions, but for a different reason— the specific limitation granted in Section 108 provides the justification.

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