UCLA Professors Barred From Posting Video Online For Classes

from the can't-educate-unless-you-pay-up dept

Copycense points us to a story out of UCLA about how professors who, in the past, would post video segments online for their classes to watch, have been forced to stop due to claims of copyright infringement by the Association for Information Media and Equipment. You see, the whole educational fair use exception to copyright law apparently doesn’t apply because the AIME says it doesn’t (even though UCLA was pretty sure that fair use did apply), and it’s causing problems for both students and teachers. UCLA still claims that its online video service was legal… but professors have been told to stop using it. Instead, they’re sending students to UCLA’s media lab to watch videos… but the lab has greatly reduced hours (including being closed all weekend) due to budget cuts. Isn’t it great to see how copyright is “promoting the progress” by making it that much more difficult to educate our young leaders of tomorrow?

Of course, just as I finished writing up the above paragraph, I came across a different story about how UCLA has created a portal of TV video content for students, basically aggregating authorized TV content from Hulu and YouTube so that students can access it all in a single interface. So, the university makes it easier to watch entertainment video… but educational videos? Too bad.

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Companies: aime, ucla

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Comments on “UCLA Professors Barred From Posting Video Online For Classes”

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40 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“professors … have been forced to stop due to claims of copyright infringement by the Association for Information Media and Equipment.”

Seriously, how is this even any of the AIME’s business. If I made a video and posted it on youtube and it had no copyright material, how is it your business or their business to tell me I can’t violate copyright on my own video. Who’s copyright is the school violating when they voluntarily post video of themselves. This makes no sense at all.

:) says:

Re: Re:

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html#movies
http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#110

(2) except with respect to a work produced or marketed primarily for performance or display as part of mediated instructional activities transmitted via digital networks, or a performance or display that is given by means of a copy or phonorecord that is not lawfully made and acquired under this title, and the transmitting government body or accredited nonprofit educational institution knew or had reason to believe was not lawfully made and acquired, the performance of a nondramatic literary or musical work or reasonable and limited portions of any other work, or display of a work in an amount comparable to that which is typically displayed in the course of a live classroom session, by or in the course of a transmission, if —

(A) the performance or display is made by, at the direction of, or under the actual supervision of an instructor as an integral part of a class session offered as a regular part of the systematic mediated instructional activities of a governmental body or an accredited nonprofit educational institution;

(B) the performance or display is directly related and of material assistance to the teaching content of the transmission;

(C) the transmission is made solely for, and, to the extent technologically feasible, the reception of such transmission is limited to —

(i) students officially enrolled in the course for which the transmission is made; or

(ii) officers or employees of governmental bodies as a part of their official duties or employment; and

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#110

Read the whole paragraph 110 in the link above.

It is not lawful to make a video of a copyrighted work(literary, musical or filmographic) that was made from an illegal copy or by illegal means but it legal to do so otherwise but it needs to have been bought legally, it needs to take some steps, have no payment and in case of literally and musical works the copyright holder can object and have to fallow some rules to do so.

Yakko Warner says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Did you click the “Threaded” link at the top? It’s right under “Reader Comments” and looks like this:

( Flattened / Threaded )

One will be plain text (the current mode), the other will be a link to switch it.

The default view is “Flattened”. If you click Threaded, it’ll switch modes and save that in a cookie so that becomes your new default, unless you clear cookies or use a different browser. (I use “private browsing”, which clears cookies on each session, so my first visit to Techdirt each day starts up in Flattened until I click Threaded once.)

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

Isn’t it great to see how copyright is “promoting the progress” by making it that much more difficult to educate our young leaders of tomorrow?

I always have to laugh when you say something like this, because you are taking a phrase out of context and attempting to make a point, but in the end you fail.

There is nothing in copyright that says “promoting the progress of education”, it is only to promote the progress of producing content etc.

I suspect if the university worked on it, and made the video available only to students, locked to the outside, etc, that they would be able to come to an arrangement with the rights holders.

Cutback at that media lab, well, that’s the schools problem, not the copyright holders problem, right?

WTG Mike, another wild reach!

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You really dont understand the context of the copyright clause.

TAM – “it is only to promote the progress of producing content etc.”

The copyright clause is there to keep knowledge open to the public. To allow people who have produced an idea for a “limited time” the ability to recoup their investment. That is the problem with people like you. Knowledge is not property, it never will be. Copyright was never meant to be a box to you had to pay for every time, for all time, you want to look inside. It is meant to help in the advancement of society by allowing a person to be rewarded for their accomplishments. It is there to allow our culture to grow and become something greater.

You just dont get it and never will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:Re;

“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.” “But,” says Man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that You exist, and so therefore, by Your own arguments, You don’t. QED” “Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. “Oh, that was easy,” says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Well I just left a comment there ....

I think this says it all …

“The Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution states … “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”.

How does this promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts? This is a university whose sole purpose is to promote science, the arts, and to educate”

Anonymous Coward says:

As I understand it, it has been a commonly accepted practice of UCLA (and other universities) to take DVDs from their collections (or even simply rent DVDs), illegally bypass security measures to upload entire films online and then permit streaming of the films to potentially thousands of students without paying any compensation to the filmmaker?

Keep in mind that many of the films are created expressly for the educational market and that many distributors offer licenses that permit online streaming. Is there no value for the work of the filmmaker or the investment of the educational distributor in new delivery technologies to meet the evolving needs of schools? Many other schools do take advantage of the digital licenses offered by content providers. So the argument seems to come down to the fact that some schools simply don’t want to pay for it and rationalize that preference through pretextual justifications and hyperbole about fair use and the oppressive bullying tactice of fat-cat copyright owners. Fair use is a flexible, fact-specific defense, but it does not justify any use just because it is educational. In cases where content providers offer the universities alternatives such as licenses for streaming and where the infringements involve illegal copies of the entire work that undermine the entire economic market for the work, the fair use argument utterly fails.

Pat Aufderheide (profile) says:

Really, fair use works here

It is just a crying shame that UCLA has capitulated to the association’s demands, without considering the effect either on pedagogical practice in its own institution or on the wider world of higher education. (Read about it at Inside Higher Ed here.)

The original provisions of Sec. 110 of the Copyright Act, special educational exemptions, were never designed for the digital era, and the amendments to it provided under the 2003 TEACH ACT are crabbed and constrained, the product of tough negotiations between the relatively weak nonprofit entities and highly focused copyright holders. So as it stands, Sec. 110 is a poor fit for changing educational practice. Exclusive reliance on Sec. 110 can mislead librarians, professors and university counsels into an attempt to make practice conform to a rigid and unhelpful set of rules.

Far more useful is the flexible and adaptable doctrine of fair use, which is fully available to every teacher, and every college and university –in addition to and apart from Section 110. Judicial interpretation of this doctrine has coalesced dramatically in the last two decades, and has eliminated much confusion about how to interpret fair use. Two concepts are critical to make a fair use judgment: Transformativeness (using material for a different purpose than the original) and appropriateness (using enough to make the point). In many cases, videos posted to course sites by instructors will satisfy these fair use criteria easily.

In order to more easily make and defend fair use judgments, higher education doesn’t need more negotiated “guidelines” – an approach that, as documented by Kenneth Crews , has never served their interests well. But another, more fruitful, approach is available. Recently several communities of practice have formulated collective interpretations of fair use, or codes of best practices in fair use. These codes have dramatically reshaped practice in fields such as documentary film and media literacy education. They are used daily by online video makers who enthusiastically embrace fair use without legal harassment.

Four codes are of particular interest to higher education: the Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ two codes of best practices (one on teaching and one on research), available on SCMS’s website; the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education ; and the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare . These codes discuss, for example, when the relevant community of practice regards it as appropriate to post others’ copyrighted material online, and how to reason about the amount of material appropriate to include.

What is needed is a collective interpretation of fair use for the higher education in general community (not and never a negotiated settlement with entities that have a record of opposing higher ed’s assertions of fair use!). Until that time, it will take acts of courage to resist bullying from copyright holders attempting understandably to maximize their advantage in a rapidly changing business environment. And that is another crying shame. Because no one should have to be courageous to use their rights. Professors and university general counsels should, like filmmakers , film scholars and media literacy teachers, be able to employ their fair use rights as a simple and ordinary part of their work lives.

Thanks to Prof. Peter Jaszi, Washington College of Law, American University for a close legal read of this post!

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