Infringement of Copyright

July 18, 2009

I have in the past delivered a fair few workshops on Copyright for JISC Collections, at ALT-C and across the country.

One question I am sometimes asked is “how easy is it to get caught” and “what will they do”. Most cases I know of which involve FE have been settled way before it gets to the court (or the press); however now and again cases involving copyright infringement do come to court.

This case is interesting because of the defendent, well they should know better, and the accusation that they ignored the concerns of the company involved.

FTS said it raised its copyright concerns with West Yorkshire Police in late 2006, but that the force and Hirst went on to repeat the alleged infringement in a 2007 update to their software, dubbed OLiVE. The package was made commercially available.

The issue with infringement of copyright is that the law is complex and surrounded by myths, so it is easy for any educaition provider and the staff who work there to at some point infringe copyright. They may do so accidently, they may do so thinking that they are okay too, or in extreme cases deliberatly infringe copyright. An institution needs to consider how it will react to any concerns that arrive at their door over cases of infringement of copyright. The key thing that you shouldn’t do, is ignore it and hope it will go away.

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Royalty Free Film Music

January 31, 2009

Film and media students often like to create their own films or edit other people’s films. When making their own films, they would often use a piece of popular music or a film soundtrack and add it to their films.

Royalty Free Film Music

In the olden days before everyone has access to the internet and online video sites such as YouTube and Blip.tv it wouldn’t matter that media and film students would infringe copyright as it was very unlikely that anyone apart from the student and their lecturer would view the video.

Edit: Just to note that it mattered then as it matters now that students infringed copyright. When I said wouldn’t matter what I was thinking was that staff and students then wouldn’t worry about infringing copyright as they perceived the risk of being caught very low and as a result wouldn’t worry about infringing copyright. But it was as wrong then as it is now, just now the risk of being caught is higher.

However these days students are not only making films, they also want to show them off. They are uploading them to YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and loads of other places on the internet.

As a result it is much easier for rights owners to find that the students have infringed their copyright. Regardless of your views on this, it can make life easier for the student, the lecturer and the college to have a source of music for these student films that does not infringe someone’s copyright.

They can of course seek permission from the copyright owner and this may be given or asked to pay a royalty.

The following is not copyright free, but you don’t need to pay royalties, just need to credit.

Lots of wonderful film type music.

From the FAQ

Can I use this music in a Student Film? Commercial Film? Stage Production? Flash Animation? Instructional DVD? Relaxation CD? Slideshow?

Yes. Anything and everything – as long as I get a credit.

Used it myself in a little film I made about the ALT Conference Dinner.

Great source of music for film projects.


Can I show a pre-recorded DVD in the classroom?

October 20, 2008

Disclaimer: ALL information containing in my post is for informational purposes only and should never be construed as legal advice. For proper legal advice you should consult a lawyer.

So here is a question which staff often ask. Can I show a pre-recorded DVD in the classroom? In other words a DVD which has been rented from a video store, or a DVD purchased from a retail store? In the olden days we would have called this a video cassette.

Can I show a pre-recorded DVD in the classroom?

Under the Copyright Act, you can show a DVD in a classroom for the purposes of instruction without needing an additional licence.

If it is for entertainment purposes then you do need a public performance licence.

From the Government Intellectual Property Office.

“Performing, playing or showing copyright works in a school, university or other educational establishment for educational purposes.  However, only teachers, pupils and others directly connected with the activities (does not generally include parents) of the establishment are in the audience.  Examples of this are showing a video for English or drama lessons and the teaching of music.  It is unlikely to include the playing of a video during a wet playtime purely to amuse the children.”

From Filmbank.

“A copyright licence is required to screen films in educational institutions under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (UK), if the film is being screened for entertainment purposes rather than for the purposes of instruction or as part of the lesson.”

Not a lot of people know this.

Part of the misunderstanding arises as generally when you play a DVD you get this huge legal message indicating that your DVD is for personal use only and can not be played on oil rigs, in prisons, schools and colleges.

That is partly true for the purposes of entertainment and you would need to purchase a licence to show a DVD for that purpose.

However for informational and instruction (ie for educational reasons) it is possible to show that DVD in a classroom. Teachers and lecturers have a statuory right (it is enshrined in law, the Copyright Act to be precise).

So could you rip that DVD and put it on a laptop or on the VLE?

Ah no.

Ripping a DVD would be in breach of the EU Copyright Directive which “prohibits circumvention of copy protection measures“. So ripping the DVD is a criminal offence.

Photo source.