If you are looking for Creative Commons music, images, sound or video, try the Media Commons Free Media Resources (http://mediacommons.psu.edu/freemedia). It includes links to a variety of sources offering material via a Creative Commons, public domain or “non-commercial use” license.
If you’re looking for some perspectives on copyright and fair use that are a little “closer to home”, the former director of the University Press at Penn State has written on these topics extensively for the past 30 years. His topics include issues such as library photocopying, the transformative aspect of fair use, copyright in China, Google, and other current news stories.
So if you’re looking for a long-term perspective on intellectual property, you may want to check our Sandy’s work:
I’ve had a few discussions with people around Penn State about the new copyright ruling regarding circumventing copy protection to access video clips so they could be used in new video works. It’s really complex since it involves copyright law, fair use, the TEACH Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Becky Albitz sketched out a diagram to help navigate these issues and then our artist, Dave Stong, turned it into a nice diagram. So here is the end result – I hope you find it useful. Click below to download it.
The purpose of Fair Use is really to give people a way of getting around copyright in limited and reasonable cases that serve the public good, such as reporting the news. Fair Use is not a hard and fast set of rules. It’s defined by needs, intentions, existing practice, case law (court rulings), reasonable uses, and other fuzzy factors. For example, there is no hard and fast rule dictating “you can use five minutes of a copyrighted movie for non-profit purposes.” People assume that those rules exist, but they don’t.
Now enter the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). One thing that was pretty clear from the DMCA: it is illegal to break the Content Scrambling System that is on most commercial DVDs. So if you own a DVD at home and want to make a digital copy to put on your iPad and take on a trip, you can’t legally do it if the DVD is encrypted. [Some companies are adding a “digital download” or “electronic copy” included as part of purchasing the DVD. There are also ways around this like recording a television that is playing a DVD, but there is usually significant loss in the audio and video quality and it’s a time consuming process.]
Got all that so far? Even what I stated above is an oversimplification, but you should get the gist: Fair Use guidelines say that you can use video clips for purposes such as education, criticism, and parody. But you can’t get those clips from DVDs since that would involve breaking the DVD encryption.
Those rules changed on July 28. According to the new rules, people can circumvent DVD encryption for the purpose of incorporating “short portions of motion pictures into new works for the purpose of criticism or comment” as long as there is no other reasonable way to get the video. Specifically, it mentions educational uses by college and university faculty, film and media students, documentary film-making, and non-commercial videos.
It appears that a non-film student could use video clips, as long as they are non-commercial. They also have to become part of a new work – so you aren’t allowed to take a video clip and just post it online. If you make that video clip part of another video that talks about the first, you should be in good shape. What if you embed that video clip in your blog and write about the clip? Is that a new work? Good question. I don’t have an answer. They may mean a new video work, but that’s not specified.
And what does “short portion” mean? This is where that Fair Use fuzziness comes into play again. My rule is the same that I use for writing: only take what you really need and make sure everyone gets credit for their work.
[To be fair, the ruling also included decisions that will affect the cell phone market, eBook text-to-speech functions, and software testing. You may want to read it yourself. It’s pretty short and understandable.]
There is a lot of interest in this new ruling and what it means for higher education. For other perspectives on the decision, you may want to check out the following:
I’ve always felt that it isn’t enough to tell people not to illegally download music and video media. If you really want to curb that kind of illegal behavior, you have to provide reasonable alternatives that give people what they want – not to mention getting people to avoid installing some of the peer-to-peer sharing software than is often bundled with security-compromising malware.
So Educause compiled a comprehensive list of sites that you can use to legally download or stream audio and video content. Personally, I love Netflix’s streaming service and I know a lot of people who are using Hulu to catch up on their favorite TV programs. Some of these are commercial products and some are free (normally supported by ad revenue). So have a look around and pick the one that has the right combination of content, convenience, quality, and subscription model that fits your needs.
On December 9, 2008, Melanie Dulong de Rosnay gave a presentation at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society about a distance education program that is designed to help librarians navigate copyright issues. Fortunately, the Berkman Center recorded this presentation and made it available to view online or access through a portable device (i.e. audio or video versions for iPods and other media players). Melanie is part of the Copyright for Librarians project at Harvard.
They appear to have a blog about the course, although it doesn’t seem to be updated often. Still, it provides some background on this project and the course.
The Center for Social Media released a guide called “The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education“, which describes five principles that reflect consensus thinking of how fair use applies to K-12 education, higher education, and non-profit organizations that offer educational programs — especially related to media literacy education (a very important topic!). Each of these principles includes a description of an educational application, the principle of fair use that is being employed, and any limitations to the use of that fair use principle. Also, for some additional insight into this report, Henry Jenkins, director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program, wrote an excellent endorsement of this document.
This video does a good job at explaining why we should share what we’re doing and then explains the next step. A Creative Commons license lets you share your work the way you want it to be shared: free for all, no remixing, non-commercial use only, requiring others to share their remixed versions of your work, etc… Good stuff — and the video itself is an interesting demonstration of remixed media.
A few weeks ago, I met with some students at the Schreyer Honors College who are blogging about their experiences at Penn State. One of the students and I started talking about how nice it is to finally have some online services where we can watch TV shows and movies that we like without the copyright issues or spyware problems associated with some peer-to-peer file sharing services. Here are some of the ones that I use, but if you know of others, please leave a comment and let me know.
Hulu – Since their launch in 2007, Hulu has become a popular site for viewing movies and TV shows from “more than 100 content providers, including FOX, NBC Universal, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more. (from hulu.com)”. Their model is supported through the inclusion of advertisements. The real killer application is the large number of popular shows that you can view on this site for free. I like this model. It’s free to the consumer and on-demand. The provider gets ad revenue. And it’s all legal. The only major drawback that I’ve seen is that episodes of shows aren’t on Hulu forever. It’s typically the last few shows for currently running series. This may be done so Hulu doesn’t compete with DVD sales.
iTunes – From the beginning, iTunes has been a popular application for downloading music. With the addition of movies and television shows, plus the idea of a “season pass” for TV series, iTunes has become a great way of finding what you need. They have a very large selection and integration with the AppleTV, so you can download and watch shows and movies on your normal television. This model is supported by payments for individual shows or series. They also have a rental option, which gives you access to some content for a limited time.
Joost – A nice service if you’re looking for a few specific movies or TV shows. Say you wanted to watch The Fifth Element. Joost has it online for free (with with rather nice quality). You have to watch one commercial every 15 minutes or so (which is the mechanism for supporting this services). But it is a lot less of an interruption than traditional movies on television.
Netflix – I’ve been a Netflix member for several years. In addition to the DVD rentals included with my membership, I can now watch over 12,000 movies instantly on my Mac or PC. This model is financially supported through monthly membership fees. A nice new addition to this instant watching service is that you can get a Netflix player, so you can browse and watch Netflix movies on your television. Very recently, they added this ability through the Xbox 360 (which is $199 now). That’s almost enough to make me want to buy one. If I were going to write a script for an anti-movie-piracy video (like the other videos on this site), I would probably focus on the “why pirate when you can get this stuff for free or low cost through legitimate and safe channels” argument. It’s an argument that I practice.
In the midst of putting together some resources for an Online Issues Forum presentation, I thought it would be interesting to discuss the elements of a Creative Commons license, so people would have a better idea of what the symbols mean and what they can do with those resources. This page on the Creative Commons site is called “Meet the Licenses” and explains each of the combination of license provisions. For example, the little person means that you need to give credit to the person who created the orginal media. The dollar sign crossed out means that the media can only be used for noncommercial purposes. So is an educational institution noncommercial? I found out that the noncommercial provision is being studied now and new guidelines will be released in 2009. The old draft guidelines say that nonprofit educational institutions fall within noncommercial use. However, if you modify the content and keep it behind a password, you may be violating other provisions, such as the “share alike” requirement (that’s the little circular arrow icon.