Thursday, October 9, 2008

A quick rundown of public performance guidelines for FILM

I am completely overwhelmed by the many guidelines that accompany the section of copyright law that governs public performance. I will attempt, in this blog posting, to list some interesting aspects of the law with regard to film rights, as well as some items that you may or may not realize are part of law.

According to the textbook, "Copyright for Schools," public performance of audiovisual media requires one of these three things: (1) permission from the copyright owner to hold public performance (2) a license from a rights broker that covers the work to be shown (3)payment of royalties to the copyright owner or his agent

When it applies to schools, the issue with showing films usually have to do with non-instructional showings. Showing a movie during recess that doesn't relate to content, showing a movie on a bus trip, making back-up copies of films, or showing films for entertainment such as during special after-school functions are illegal and copyright violations.

There is a legal exemption to this law...if a teacher relates the film's content to instruction and the activity is for teaching purposes then it is legal. So in essence, even in a school environment, you may not show a copyrighted film unless it relates to instruction.

There must also be a face-to-face teaching requirement---the film must pertain to what is taught at the time, not, for example, a semester later.

Schools can purchase films that come with public performance rights included in the price. there are a variety of vendors who do this and the Johns Hopkins University link takes you to a list of those distributors.

In essence, these question must all be answered YES, otherwise public performance rights must be obtained... (1) Is it being shown as NONPROFIT EDUCATIONAL? (2) Will it be shown in a CLASSROOM or SIMILAR PLACE (3) Are only INSTUCTORS and PUPILS present? (4) Is it a LEGALLY ACQUIRED COPY?

In order to avoid any violation of the copyright law, my suggestion not show any film outside of an instructional setting unless legal rights have been acquired.

1 comment:

Brandy said...

I have to say that this area of copyright surprised me the most. Especially, since when I was in high school we often watched movies on the bus and recently at a PTO meeting we were reading a journal that suggested having a "Family Movie Night" as an activity to plan, but did not mention anything about getting performance rights. I understand the purpose, but I think area would be very hard to enforce.