MPAA to teachers – fair use needs a VCR!

May 8, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

According to the MPAA the fair use provision in our copyright laws is flawed and needs to be qualified. During the continuing DCMA hearings they have again surfaced the claim that ripping a DVD shouldn’t be allowed, since the teacher can copy the video using a video camera pointed at the TV screen.


That’s as ludicrous as requiring that teachers may only copy from a photocopy, and not from the original book!

They even created a video to demonstrate the process. Anyone concerned about fair use and copyright should be aghast at this blatantly stupid, but well financed, attack on rights. This ‘process’ is not only more cumbersome and time consuming (but teachers have loads of free time, right?) but also significantly more costly (you need a camcorder, tapes, and a tripod – in addition to the equipment you already have).

MPAA shows how to videorecord a TV set from timothy vollmer on Vimeo.

via [Ars Technica]


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Category: Communication, Education, Intellectual property

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I'm a technophile with an enduring interest in almost anything real or imagined. I suffer fools badly, and love trashy science fiction, plot-free action movies, playing guitar, and baking (especially scones. You haven't lived 'til you've eaten my scones. I've recently undertaken bread, and am now in danger of gaining in a matter of weeks the 60 pounds I've lost in the past 2 years). My wife & I are Scottish, living north of Atlanta, GA, with two children, one dog, and a growing collection of gadgets. I work for a living.

Comments (3)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    This is ludicrous. Why would you want to dump this extra work on a teacher? Let's assume she wants to play 3 minutes of a DVD of a motion picture. Why wouldn't she simply put it in the DVD player and play that clip? Why go to all of this trouble?

    I would guess the following. 1) The MPAA is twitchy about teachers making direct digital copies. There are ways to do this from a DVD, but they just don't want the word getting out. 2) The MPAA want the teachers to use degraded copies unsuitable for a completely satisfying viewing.

    These are my guesses. I think they are silly. Consider that the University of Texas… doesn't even hint at the need to make degraded copies. They do stress the need to use only partial clips of the materials.

    I would agree that allowing a teacher to simply play the entire DVD of a 2 hour motion picture would technically not fall under fair use (though it is done all the time), but this video adds a new surreal and time-wasting dimension to classroom copyright hygiene.

  2. NIklaus Pfirsig says:

    A couple of points…

    1. Isn't it illegal under the DMCA to provide information on how to circumvent digital rights management software? Shouldn't the MPAA be charged for the violation and jailed for providing this rather obvious bit of information.

    2. DVD bootleggers, the real video pirates, probably use this technique by video recording movies at the theaters, or by simply connecting the av out of a player to the av into a tv capture card. Does this video imply that DVDs mastered in this way are legal?

    3 If the previous answer to the last question is "yes", would this imply that it is legal to copy DVDs in this manner for use mastering un authorized disks for sale at flea-markets, but illegal for dad to use a program that rips a dvd to an mp4 format that Junior can watch is Disney movies on his PSP?

    • Erich Vieth says:

      I don't have all the information provided by the MPAA for the "benefit" of the teachers, but I would assume that the MPAA was only suggesting that the teachers could copy clips from movies, not entire movies. I would be shocked if MPAA were actually telling teachers to copy entire movies.

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