Jan 31 2010
An article in a recent Inside Higher Education should give all of us pause. UCLA has implemented a new policy that doesn’t allow faculty members to post copyrighted videos on their course management web pages. This change came about after the Association for Information and Media Equipment, an educational media trade group, charged UCLA with violating copyright law citing numerous classes where videos were posted without obtaining permission from the copyright holders.
UCLA contends that the TEACH Act, a copyright exemption that allows educators to show or perform copyrighted works in the classroom, permits streamed media on a password-protected website. The association argues that “a password-protected space on the Web is not a classroom.” Each side also disagrees on fair use claims. For an insightful analysis of these claims, see the blog entry by Kevin Smith at Duke University entitled, “Can we stream digital video?”
Tracy Mitrano, Director of IT policy at Cornell University and quoted in the article, noted that while there are legitimate points on each side of this argument, the overarching issue is the disconnect between technology and the law and its “deleterious effect” on higher education. “Content owners and higher education administrators and faculty, together with the associations that represent them, must sit down and figure out appropriate licensing, clearance, and fair use provisions in order not to hamper American higher education, if not global education, in pursuit of its mission.” Until this happens, however, be aware that content owners are being vigilant about protecting their copyrights.