Friday, November 5, 2010

Copyright: Off Air Recording

Johnson County Community College is phasing out VCRs on campus in favor of DVD players. Many faculty members have off-air recordings on video tape and have requested that the media be converted to digital video and burned to a DVD.

The college is unable to handle these requests based on the Kastenmeier Guidelines. For a history of the guidelines, see The actual guidelines can be found at: (UC Berkley web site) or

It’s important to note that these are guidelines established by a Congressional Subcommittee and do not carry the weight of law but are generally viewed as acceptable practice. The guidelines can be summarized as follows:
  1. A broadcast program may be recorded off-air and retained by a nonprofit educational institution for up to forty-five (45) consecutive calendar days after which the recording must be erased or destroyed immediately. "Broadcast programs" are television programs transmitted by television stations for reception by the general public without charge.
  2. An off-air recording may be used once by individual teachers for relevant teaching activities and repeated once only for instructional reinforcement, if needed, in classrooms and similar places devoted to instruction. The use must occur during the first ten (10) consecutive schools days within the forty-five (45) day calendar day retention period.
  3. Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of and used by individual teachers, and may not be regularly recorded in anticipation of requests. No broadcast program may be recorded off-air more than once at the request of the same teacher, regardless of the number of times the program may be broadcast.
  4. After the first ten (10) consecutive schools days, off-air recordings may be used (for the remainder of the forty-five calendar day retention period) only for teacher evaluation purposes. i.e., to determine whether or not to include the broadcast program in the teaching curriculum. During the remaining retention period, the broadcast may not be used for student exhibition or any other non-evaluation purpose without authorization.
  5. The instructor may use just selected portions of an off-air recording, but the recorded programs may not be altered from their original content, or physically or electronically combined or merged to constitute teaching anthologies or compilations.
  6. The off-air recording must include the copyright notice from the broadcast program as recorded.
  7. Educational institutions are expected to establish appropriate control procedures to maintain the integrity of these guidelines.

As is always the case, the best approach is to use a legally obtained (purchased) copy of the broadcast (check with yuor college's Library Services to see if the broadcast is available or can be acquired through the Library) or seek permission from the copyright holder. An off air recording that has been retained beyond the 10 school day period is not considered a legal copy.

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