Q. Would it be acceptable to air a few commercials, via closed circuit TV throughout our school, to be used for a comparison/contrast lesson in each teacher’s classroom? The commercials were taped off-air, not from cable.

A. Currently, the only direct, off-air permissions for educators are part of the Off-air Taping Guidelines. Those guidelines permit the taping and presentation in a classroom, but make no stated provision for airing over a closed circuit system. Without any explicit permission being granted, it then becomes a matter of interpretation, under the general concept of Fair Use, as to whether the material may be used. Potentially, for instructional use, brief segments, rather than complete programs, might fall under the general category of Fair Use, but, once again, that is only one possible interpretation

You might consult with your institution’s attorney for an official position to be taken, since the Off-air taping Guidelines make no provision for closed circuit redistribution of content taped off-air. Using stand-alone, in a classroom, is generally considered permissible.

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