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« On ranking, awards and other nonsense | Main | Learning from the grandsons »
Sunday
Nov302008

Fair Use Scenarios - Ms Nickie and the movie

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

Media specialist Nickie finds out that the 5th grade classes will be watching the movie National Treasure in the media center as the culminating activity for an American history unit. Popcorn is being served and there are no activities or study guides that ask the students to relate the film to what they have studied. The school does not have a public performance license. Ms Nickie is concerned this doesn't qualify as fair use.

  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 helping with this event? Are there any changes or limits you might like to see that would make you more comfortable?

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

You comments are most welcome.

 

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Reader Comments (13)

I'm not comfortable with it just because that movie sucks. Tell the kids to have fun watching it on their own time and tell the teacher to get a different job.

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterteacherninja

Not being familiar with the movie, my first question would be as to its value (and teacherninja has already weighed in on that one...) Since there is no public performance license, and no direct educational instruction tied to it, I think the fair use for education criteria has not been met. My comfort level would be a 2 (it would be a 1 if the movie were a totally unrelated reward movie).

December 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Does this meet any guidelines under fair use - no.
Would it be reasonable to consider it as fair use if it were tied directly to curriculum and questions were asked - no.

Why? There are no Fair Use guidelines to apply to this issue. (There are exemptions to copyright law, but the exemption is not the same as Fair Use).

I'm not dwelling on a technicality, but am convinced that this issue is too confusing for most of us. I also contend that the technicalities are much less important than discussions about the beliefs used to determine copyright and Fair Use. People will get this wrong either because they don't care, don't believe it important, self-justify behaviors using the ends to discount the means, or are generally confused.

December 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Hi Ninja,

Are you saying this movie has insufficient educational value to be used in class? I thought so.

Doug

Hi Michael,

I’d tend to agree. I’d feel better if there was some activity related to the movie. (List 3 things that are historically accurate and 3 things that are not historically accurate from the movie...)

Doug

Hi Joel,

As I conceded earlier to Tom Hoffman who had similar concerns about these scenarios, they would be better named “ethical use of intellectual property” rather than restricting them to fair use.

Hmmmm, I thought not needing a public performance license for a commercial film if as a part of a class was part of fair use. (Granted, the example may not meet the criteria of a curricular tie.)

All the best,

Doug

December 3, 2008 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

A little late, but my two cents. By the way Doug, thank you for these scenarios . They have challenged me. This particular scenario does challenge me. I agree with teacherninja, this movie is so bad. Perhaps the first thing I might suggest is change the movie. Then I would ban the popcorn, because I like to show respect to our custodians by following their rules. The lack of study guides I can live with, but I too would feel better with an activity relating the movie to education. Since I am assuming the movie is shown in my space, I'd jump in as co teacher and arrange some activity to relate to the curriculum. Maybe an lesson on primary sources- why they are so important?

December 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Tracy

It seems to suggest that the video is truly for entertainment purposes disguised as a "review activity". Personally, we would not let this be shown in our libraries even with an accompanying lesson. It would be one thing if the teacher showed only portions that pertained to the curriculum goals but that is not the case. Despite the fact that it "sucks", since students will have seen the whole movie, they would be less likely to purchase it themselves thus a loss of revenue for the authors.

January 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervb library chicks

This scenario doesn't follow the principles of fair use. The movie does have educational relevance that could be used in short clips and class discussion or activities. Watching the whole movie would be against the principles of fair use.

January 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergroup 1

It;'s a private screening for the 5th grade class. the general public is not invited, therefore she is within her right to exhibit the film.

March 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterasdf

The Copy righted material is the movie, and the movie belongs to Disney. This particular activity does not fall under the fair use guidelines, because even though it is labeled as a history activity, there is no activity involved besides eating popcorn. We would not feel comfortable because there needs to be educational activity involved while watching the movie beyond consumption of food. Maybe a compare and contrast paper or listing historical events presented in the movie.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPOD 2

The Copy righted material is the movie, and the movie belongs to Disney. This particular activity does not fall under the fair use guidelines, because even though it is labeled as a history activity, there is no activity involved besides eating popcorn. We would not feel comfortable because there needs to be educational activity involved while watching the movie beyond consumption of food. Maybe a compare and contrast paper or listing historical events presented in the movie.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPOD 2

I think that the teacher is in violation with the Fair Use Guidlines becasue 1. She is showing the whole movie instead of just a clip from the movie 2. Its a reward instead of being instructional 3. It is not educationally based, there is no worksheet 4.There is no public performance license. If the teacher was using it as an instructional video it would be more appropriate to show to a class.

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBMS

Unless the copy of the movie was obtained illegally (burned or borrowed from outside the education community), there would be no problem with showing it to the class. Although there are no follow up questions or activities for the movie, she can still argue that she was showing it for instructional purposes. Our level of comfort would be a 3, until proven how the movie was obtained. Adding a follow up activity or quiz doesn't make this situation any less plausible, but personally we would prefer to add one just for the sake of the learning process.

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrinity CPSC

I think the movie is in violation of copyright because even though the teacher says it is a history related movie, the movie itself and the way the teacher is preparing this activity has no instructional value. To help fall under the fair use guidelines, some type of activity could be used to relate to the lesson they are currently working on such as a worksheet or quiz. The copyright is the movie and the movie is Disney. Our comfort level with this circumstance would be a 1 or 2 due to the lack of instructional purposes.

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrinity student

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