Archive for October, 2010

Use of Royalty Free Music and Book Covers in Video Production

Q.  Students are making book trailers for our Book Festival. If we purchase royalty free music with the right to use the music in a variety of productions, are we able to use selected music in the video  and not be in violation of copyright ?  Are we able to show the cover of a book in any way as part of our presentation?

A.  My response is based on the assumption that students are producing promotional videos that will be shown either within your school/school district’s closed circuit TV system or on local, community cable and that copies of the promotional videos are not being made for any form of distribution to others, either free or by sale.

With the preceding in mind, royalty free music libraries generally permit the use of the music in almost any form of media production for use within the confines of the institution to which the music is licensed.  This generally would include the school/district, closed circuit system.  However, you are actually governed by the license agreement (contract) for the royalty free music and what it will permit/not permit.  I would definitely recommend reviewing the agreement to see what are the permissions/limitations and if there is a reference to using the music on productions that will be transmitted outside of your institution.  If there is no reference to this in the agreement, I would recommend your contacting the copyright owners and obtain clarification/permission in writing, since the use of the music is governed by contract law, not copyright.

In terms of using the book cover in the production, in general, a Fair Use argument can be made for performing this function.  However, covers are copyright protected and if original artwork, the copyright owner may not wish to see their artwork distributed electronically.  Even though Fair Use may apply, since the transmission of the videos may take place beyond the confines of a school or your district, I would recommend contacting the copyright owners of the images you desire to use for their permission.  In the process, you may find a consistent enough response that may help you in future use of similar materials without having to write for permission again in the future.

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Recording A Story By Reading the Book

Q.  An 11th grade ESE student needs an audio version of a story, and I am unable to locate a DVD, cassette or playaway of the book from any vendors.  Would it be permissible to record myself reading the book for this one student?  The CD would be destroyed and not added to our collection.  We have multiple copies of this book, but an audio format would assist her at home where the primary language is Spanish.  If I could locate an audio format, I would purchase it.  Would you advise writing to the publisher asking for their permission?

A.  I would recommend your contacting your district’s Exceptional Student Education Office and your district Media Center to see if they are able to make contact with the appropriate state support agency and see if they have the item in their collection.  If they don’t, the agency can check to see if they are able to obtain a recording from the Division of the Handicapped and Blind of the Library of Congress, which provides such resources to the states.  If the materials are not available via this approach, I would recommend your contacting the publisher indicating why there is a need to make such a recording and would they be able to grant permission to carry out this activity.

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