Moving from face-to-face to online teaching can be challenging. Sometimes it may seem that everything is different. Part of our job in IDT is to help assure you that most of your knowledge and skills from the physical classroom translate to your online one.
But some things are simply destined to be different. “Fair Use” and other copyright standards such as the TEACH Act, are not the same online as in the traditional classroom. For example, while it is allowable for a professor to play an entire movie in a traditional classroom (so long as the purpose is “educational” and not for “entertainment”) that’s not the case in the online classroom.
Things are a lot more complicated in the digital world. Under the TEACH Act, a video may be digitized if it’s not already available in a digitized form from another source and only to the extent allowed under Section 110(2) of the act. And still the university has to meet all the TEACH Act requirements to justify the use of the material.
What does this mean? First off, the WSU has a great library staff waiting to take your questions, so if you want to digitize a video and use it in your online class (or have other video streaming needs), please contact your subject librarian or Cathy Moore-Jansen with those questions. It might be possible to find the video you want in a digitized form from such sources as Films on Demand, Academic Video Online Premium, or Swank. Listing streaming videos as required course resources is also an option if the video you need is available through a paid streaming service such as Netflix, iTunes, or Amazon. The University Libraries provide information on accessing, embedding, and using video resources and can also provide some guidance on copyright issues. IDT also provides a video tutorial on embedding, linking, and using the “mashup” tool in Blackboard.
If it isn’t available digitally, under Section 110(2), the TEACH Act might allow for a portion of the work to be digitized and used in an online classroom if the portion you want to use is “reasonable and limited.” This section would not allow the use of an entire or substantial portion of the video.
If the TEACH Act doesn’t seem to be what you need, you might be able to use material under “Fair Use.” Fair Use comes into play if your intended use of the material leans more toward Fair Use than the copyright owner’s rights. This is not an impossible standard, but it is useful to think through it systematically. If you are interested in using material under Fair Use, please consider applying the ALA’s Fair Use Evaluator Tool. If you use this tool, you can then document your evaluation by keeping a copy in your files against the future possibility that someone takes or threatens legal action.
Another complicating factor in online courses is that the material from one term tends to frequently be “rolled” into the next semester and the next… and so on. This means the material is likely to be used multiple times, making it more likely to impact the copyright owner’s financial interest, and potentially undermining a Fair Use claim.
Sound complicated? Yeah, it really is. If you are interested in copyright issues of this nature, I strongly urge you to take the “Copyright Crash Course” available from the University of Texas Libraries.
A special THANK YOU goes out to Dr. Anne M. Klingen, Director of Online Design and eLearning for the University of Mississippi for this information.