Breaking Electronic Locks
Most copies of movies (DVDs, electronic copies, etc.) have digital locks that prevent the use of snippets and, except in a few specific circumstances, it is illegal to circumvent those locks. 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A). The only exception relating to the classroom is for the film or media studies department of a university.
In Title 17 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Section 201.40 the Librarian of Congress determined that "during the period from November 27, 2006 through October 27, 2009, the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that effectively control access to copyrighted works set forth in 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A) shall not apply to persons who engage in noninfringing uses of . . .
(1) Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university's film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors."
There is an exception in 17 U.S.C. 201(d) which provides that "A nonprofit library, archives, or educational institution which gains access to a commercially exploited copyrighted work solely in order to make a good faith determination of whether to acquire a copy of that work for the sole purpose of engaging in conduct permitted under this title [17 U.S.C.A. S 1 et seq.]." This would include the educational use permitted by Section 110(1) or fair use. However, the exception only applies to making a determination of "whether to acquire a copy" of the work, not to the use of the work.
N.B.: The analysis on this web page applies only to copyrights in the U.S. and we are informed that in other countries, Canada for instance, a license must be obtained for the uses permitted in the U.S. This analysis should not be construed as legal advice and, any person, before acting on it should seek advice from their own attorney.
Authorities: 17 United States Code, Sections 110(1) and 1201; Public Performance Rights for Movies and the Face to Face Teaching Exemption from the College of St. Benedict, St. John's University; "Use of Video Cassettes in the Classroom," by Ralph D. Mawdsley; 32 Education Law Reporter 1163; West Publishing Company, 1986; and "Copyrights, Cassettes and Classrooms: The Performance Puzzle," by Francis M. Nevins, 43 Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. 1 (1995).
vrijdag 15 mei 2009
Breaking Electronic Locks on DVDs
A lot of teachers use DVDs in their classroom. And sometimes they might be tempted to break an electronic lock on a DVD in order to distribute several copies to their students. This is in most cases illegal. But the U.S. Law makes an exception for some classrooms.