Legal Use of Videotapes in the Classroom

"Educational use of videotapes must meet two criteria: the tapes themselves must be lawfully acquired and their use must fall under the fair use rules. Lawfully acquired videotapes include original tapes that have been purchased, rented, or borrowed and copies of broadcast programs recorded 'off-air' from television. 'Off-air' recordings have such stringent restrictions that we don't recommend that teachers use them."

The fair use law states:
"[T]he following are not infringements of copyright:
(1) performance or display of a work by instructors or pupils in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a nonprofit educational institution, in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction, unless, in the case of a motion picture or audiovisual work, the performance, or the display of individual images, is given by means of a copy that was not lawfully made under this title"

"[F]ace-to-face teaching activities include a wide variety of 'systematic' instructional uses, but expressly forbid 'recreation or entertainment' uses. [A House of Representatives committee report] clarifies that 'classroom or similar place' would include a library or auditorium if such a space is used for instruction."

"We [also] advise teachers to know both their state laws and the policies of their local boards of education."

Alan B. Teasley and Ann Wilder
Reel Conversations: Reading Films with Young Adults











Paige Mayhew OWP 2000