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Copyright Information and Guidelines: FAQs

This guide for the Bentley University community presents information on copyright and provides guidance in evaluating the use of copyrighted material in higher education and scholarship.

Videos and Film in Course Instruction

Would I be able to digitize and stream a DVD I own in Blackboard for my students to view?

No. It is illegal to reformat media to enable streaming of its content. Proper licensing must be obtained if you wish to stream any form of media on a website or course management system.

May I show in my class a film I have rented from Netflix, Blockbuster, or Redbox?

DVDs from a rental service are labeled "Home Use Only", indicating a licensing agreement with the copyright holder. Nevertheless, use of such tapes is considered fair use in face-to-face teaching situations. Items marked "Home Use Only" may also be placed on reserve at the Library Services Desk and viewed in the Preview Room if they are used strictly for instructional purposes and NOT for entertainment.

Is it legal to make a copy of a rental film in order to use it again later?

No, that would infringe on the right licensed to the rental agency.

Queuing and changing DVDs to show short sections can be awkward in class. May I edit together portions of videos?

It depends. If you are using very brief clips from several videos (NOT off-air tapes) and they are for a one-time use, this would probably be permissible under fair use. If you are using several segments from the same video and/or expect to use it in subsequent semesters, then permission would need to be obtained.

May an auditorium or other large space be used to show a film labeled "Home Use Only" to a class or several sections of a course?

Yes, so long as the presentation is not open to the public or the college community at large AND is part of the syllabus. Presentation for entertainment purposes requires permission or a license.

How does the "face-to-face" instruction requirement affect the practice of placing films on reserve and assigning them to students?

Since the instructor is not present there is much debate regarding this issue. Bentley University takes the position that students who are required to view films that are assigned  or  recommended  as  supplemental  material  for  a  specific  course  or  to complete an assignment may do so in the Preview Room.

This film/video is out of print and deteriorating rapidly, may we make a copy?

Yes. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 allows libraries to make up to three copies of video and print materials for archival purposes.

Music and Audio in Course Instruction

Would I be able to digitize and stream an audio CD or cassette I own in Blackboard for my students to listen to?

No. It is illegal to reformat media to enable streaming of its content. Proper licensing must be obtained if you wish to stream any form of media on a website or course management system.

May I play in my class a musical piece that I own on a CD, cassette or file?

As long as the performance of the piece is for educational purposes and is held during class in a classroom, then such use would be permissible under fair use guidelines.

May I make a copy of an audio CD or cassette to place on reserve instead of using my personal copy?

No. It is illegal to reproduce a commercially available recording. Either purchase an additional copy or suggest the library purchase a copy for its collection.

Queuing and changing CDs or audio files to play short sections can be awkward in class. May I edit together portions of videos?

It depends. If you are using very brief excerpts from several different pieces and they are for a one-time use, this would probably be permissible under fair use. If you are using several segments from the same piece and/or expect to use it in subsequent semesters, then permission would need to be obtained.

May an auditorium or other large space be used to play a piece of music to a class or several sections of a course?

Yes, so long as the presentation is not open to the public or the college community at large AND is part of the syllabus. Presentation for entertainment purposes requires permission or a license.

How does the "face-to-face" instruction requirement affect the practice of placing CD’s on reserve and assigning them to students?

Since the instructor is not present there is much debate regarding this issue. Bentley University takes the position that students who are required to listen to a piece or pieces of music that is assigned or recommended as supplemental material for a specific course or to complete an assignment may do so.

Disclaimer

Please note that the above information is for reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. It is advisable to always conduct a Fair Use Analysis whenever there is a question regarding the lawful use of copyrighted material. If, after careful evaluation, it is determined that the use of particular material would violate copyright law, or if you need to purchase copyright permissions for such use, please contact Matthew Van Sleet at 781.891.2311 or mvansleet@bentley.edu.