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Wednesday
Nov262008

Fair use scenario - Mr. Opus and the digital cameras

In a continuing series of scenarios that explore educational fair use issues.

Left Overshoe Elementary School is putting on the play Annie. The performance rights are for two live shows only. In the past the school has allowed parents to videotape during performances. Mr. Opus, the music director, is worried that parts of these homemade videos will wind up on YouTube or on Facebook pages. He has suggested to the principal that videotaping not be allowed. The principal sees such a ban as a public relations nightmare and decides to allow taping.

  1. What is the copyrighted material? Who owns it?
  2. Does the use of the work fall under fair use guidelines? Is the use transformational in nature? Can this be considered "educational" use?
  3. What is your level of comfort in helping create such a product? Are there any changes or limits you might like to see that would make you more comfortable with this project?

Your level of comfort with this use of copyrighted materials: High 5 4 3 2 1 Low

You comments are most welcome.

It's a hard knock life (especially for tech directors)...

 

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Reader Comments (10)

I think I'd rate that a 4, as long as they're only posting parts of the video, not the entirety. I'm not sure I have a rationale behind that decision, though.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJeri Hurd

Plays have pretty clear restrictions on ANY videotaping and recording. Many districts pay the ASCAP/BMI fees but Annie probably isn't covered with this.

I would be comfortable with parents videotaping for personal use (as long as they stay out of the way).

Whether this is something to ignore, I'm not sure. I doubt this is covered by fair use as I can't see how a parent would have standing as an educator. Its not transformational either.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrandt Schneider

Another question to add to the mix is the question of student privacy. When/if the parent posts the video on YouTube without the permission of the other childrens parents, are they violating that child's right to privacy. We had a similar issue at a school choir concert and decided to err on the side of caution and ask parents not to video tape because of copyright and student privacy. Most understood...but you can't control everyone. We added a statement to the program that was handed out at the beginning of the performance.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

I don't see how it is the school's problem from a copyright point of view if a parent posts video online, any more than it is the movie theater's fault if someone shoots a bootleg video of a movie. I think the privacy issue is what people get hung up on. I tend to think it is baloney, but I don't know.

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTom Hoffman

My thoughts on this from last spring:

http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2008/04/bad-pr-chorus-c.html

General legal precept: You have NO right to privacy regarding anything that happens in public (e.g., walking down the street, hanging out on your front porch in plain view, an event open to the public...)

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScott McLeod

I agree with Tom . How can school control what parents post online?

November 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Tracy

My comfort level regarding this issue is a “3”. I believe that the school should take the stance that there should be no videotaping. They should post their request visually and also announce it prior to the start of the performance. A statement should be included in the program as well. There are a few things to take into consideration here. One of course is the issue of student privacy. I would not want my child’s performance to end up on YouTube or Facebook. If the school were the one who wanted to do this, they would have to have written authorization from every parent whose child appears in the video in order to do so. A parent videotaping the performance should not be allowed to post the video without the authorization of all other parents as well. There is also the copyright issue. The school has paid for only a certain number of days to show the play and they should abide by and respect the copyright laws. We teach our students not to plagiarize; to observe copyright laws. What message are we sending students and parents if we do not do so as well? Outside of the realm of copyright and privacy, there is the possibility that students will be distracted by the taping and that some parents will block the view of others during the performance in order to get their video. We know that some parents will ignore requests and still videotape. It’s impossible to stop this. Schools are at least bound to make the request not to videotape in order to respect the legal and personal rights of all to the best of their ability.

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

My comfort level regarding this issue is a “3”. I believe that the school should take the stance that there should be no videotaping. They should post their request visually and also announce it prior to the start of the performance. A statement should be included in the program as well. There are a few things to take into consideration here. One of course is the issue of student privacy. I would not want my child’s performance to end up on YouTube or Facebook. If the school were the one who wanted to do this, they would have to have written authorization from every parent whose child appears in the video in order to do so. A parent videotaping the performance should not be allowed to post the video without the authorization of all other parents as well. There is also the copyright issue. The school has paid for only a certain number of days to show the play and they should abide by and respect the copyright laws. We teach our students not to plagiarize; to observe copyright laws. What message are we sending students and parents if we do not do so as well? Outside of the realm of copyright and privacy, there is the possibility that students will be distracted by the taping and that some parents will block the view of others during the performance in order to get their video. We know that some parents will ignore requests and still videotape. It’s impossible to stop this. Schools are at least bound to make the request not to videotape in order to respect the legal and personal rights of all to the best of their ability.

November 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

Hi Jeri,

I find it difficult to believe that a school would be held responsible for something a parent did with the material without the help or permission of the school. But I doubt this has ever had a court case surrounding it.

All the best,

Doug

Hi Brandt,

I think it is interesting that you say “Plays have pretty clear restrictions on ANY videotaping and recording.” but in the next paragraph decide “I would be comfortable with parents videotaping for personal use...”

I feel the same way, but find it difficult to understand why I am willing to disregard these Terms of Use.

All the best,

Doug

Hi Tom,

I think the difference here is that theaters show due diligence in trying to keep people from taping movies where as schools allow or even encourage the taping of performances.

Doug

Thanks, Scott. Helpful link.

Doug

Hi Joan,

I don’t think schools can control whether parents place something online. But they can control whether an event gets taped in the first place.

All the best,

Doug

Hi Jackie,

With many parents building video scrapbooks of their children growing up, I expect you would get some stiff opposition to your stance from them. It seems like videotaping for personal viewing and use of school performances has long been a part of the culture.

Just some thoughts,

Doug

November 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

The copyrighted material is the script of the play. Home videos would not be considered educational, but if small parts of the recording are used, that's okay.
Comfort level: some say 2, some say 5. We don't have a problem with people video taping it for copyright reasons, but we are more concerned with people getting in the way of the performance.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJames

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