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Journalism - Film & Documentaries: Copyright and Video

Documentaries and filmmaking. Research on film. Funding for filmmakers, copyright information, interviewing and oral histories

Best Practices Using Video for Publishing and Teaching

Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Statement on Fair Use Best Practices for Media Studies Publishing lists four categories, including principles and limitations, that might fall under fair use:

  1. Use of copyrighted material to illustrate historical, theoretical, or aesthetic arguments
  2. Use of copyright material to stimulate discussion
  3. Multimedia scholarship, including video essays, DVD extras, and blog posts
  4. Use of copyrighted material when bundled with scholarship and teaching materials

Society for Cinema and Media Studies' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use in Teaching for Film and Media Educators identifies five broad principles for use of film and media in the U. S. classrooms, setting limitations and clarifications regarding certain uses:

  1. Classroom Screenings
  2. Broadcast Recordings
  3. Derivative Works
  4. Online Distance Education
  5. Public Domain

Using Online Video for Academic Purpose

The University of Rhode Island's Guide: Fair Use and Copyright for Online Education has some excellent examples of proper and improper uses of video for online education.

What about ...

Students creating mashups of copyrighted movies?

Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video  The Center for Media & Social Impact with American University's Washington College of Law's recent study: "...shows that many uses of copyrighted material in today's online videos are eligible for fair use consideration."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):  A Guide to YouTube Removals - A "what to do" guide if you've created a YouTube video that has been removed because of potential copyright violations.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States digital rights management (DRM) law enacted October 28, 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton. The intent behind DMCA was to create an updated version of copyright laws to deal with the special challenges of regulating digital material. It prohibits "circumventing" digital rights management and other "technological measures" used to protect copyrighted works.

Every three years the U.S. Copyright Office convenes a "rulemaking" session to consider granting exemptions to the DMCA's ban on circumvention to mitigate the harms the law has caused to legitimate non-infringing uses of copyrighted materials.

  • Until 2009, only film and media studies professors could circumvent DVD encription for fair use purposes.
  • In 2009, that category was expanded to include all college and university professors, film and media stuies students, documentary filmmakers and noncommercial creators of music video.