Multimedia Materials

Users of video, television programs and other copyrighted mediamaterials should become familiar with copyright laws and fair-useguidelines.  Violations could lead to prosecution for copyrightinfringement.

Contact Ginny Moran (x6398 or if you have questions about using copyrighted audiovisual materials or need assistance securing permissions.

Classroom Use

Instructors in non-profit educational settings may show copyrightedvideos (DVDs and videotapes) in the classroom without restriction, aslong as it is for students enrolled in the class and is in the contextof face-to-face teaching (i.e., not for entertainment.)

Federal guidelines stipulate that entire videos cannot be copiedwithout permission from the copyright holders.  Brief portions maybe copied for instructional uses. Only threeminutes or 10% of the work, whichever is less, can be copied withoutpermission.  Most videos are copyrightprotected, even if a copyright notice is not visible. Transferring orcopying video and multimedia materials in their entirety to otherformats is generally not permitted.

Presentation to Audiences Beyond Those Registered for Specific Courses

Federal guidelines prohibit showing videos outside of the face-to-faceteaching classroom without purchasing a Public Performance license (see below for more information) orobtaining permission from the owners of the copyright. This applieseven though the instructor or other presenters believe the context iseducational and not for entertainment. See “Public Performance Rights” below for more information.

Public Performance Rights

Public performancerights must be purchased or permission must be sought for on-campusfilm festivals, even though attendance is limited to members of thecampus community.  Announcements or posters inviting the generalcollege community to a showing of a feature film (even if no admissionis charged) are not legal. Please contact Ginny Moran ( for assistance with obtaining public performance rights.


Reasonable efforts will be made to acquire versions or licenses for obsolete copyrighted formats (i.e., VHS videocassettes) and also for fragile/at-risk items in the College collection. Finding no suitable option, we may make a single copy in an appropriate media format with the following fair use stipulations:

Copies are:

  • for use only by Macalester faculty, staff and students
  • for educational use only and may not be used for public performances
  • not used or circulated simultaneously with the originals

We will:

  • provide full attribution, in a form satisfactory to scholars in the field, to the extent it is reasonably possible to do so
  • retain records of our acquisition efforts

This policy is informed by the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries developed by the Center for Media and Social Impact.

Streaming Video/Multimedia

There are legal restrictions on the use of copyrighted materials onlineand specific procedures must be followed to comply with the law.

Without permission, only three minutes or 10% of the work may bestreamed, whichever is less. Video materials that are available forpurchase in a digitized format must be purchased for use as streamingvideo, even if they are already owned in VHS or DVD formats, includingmaterials cataloged in the college media collection. If not availablein digitized format, permission can sometimes be purchased to streamvideos, but for a limited student audience only, with appropriatepassword protections. Bear in mind that streaming a video is a form ofduplication, and thus subject to copyright strictures.

With adequatenotice, we can help you seek copyright permission.  Please contactGinny Moran ( for a copyright permission request form.  For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions (link FAQs below).

Fair Use of Broadcast TV Programs

An off-air recording of a TV broadcast may be shown twice in aclassroom during the 10 school days following the original broadcast.After this period, it may be used for teacher evaluation purposes, butmay not be used for student exhibition without authorization. After 45days of the broadcast, the recordings must be purchased or licensed orthe copy erased or destroyed.

Media Services Reserves

Media materials used in courses should be placed on reserve at the DeWitt Wallace Service Desk.  Reserve materials typically remain on reserve until theend of the semester.  If a classroom showing is scheduled, theitem will also be booked in the professor’s name so it cannot bechecked out by another patron at the specified show time.  Mediamaterials should remain on reserve so they areaccessible to the students of the class and other faculty and studentswho may have need of the same material.

Faculty wishing to placematerials on reserve should use the Library’s general reserves form


The installation, use, duplication, and distribution of both free andpurchased software is limited by the terms of licensing agreements(often referred to as End User License Agreements, EULA). Theselicensing agreements overcome copyright law.

The licensing agreements for College-owned software vary.  If youhave questions about the installation, use, duplication, ordistribution of College-owned software, please contact David Sisk at or x6745.

Podcasting Copyright Policies

When creating and posting a podcast, all traditional copyright lawsapply and should be followed.  If use of the podcast is restrictedto students in a class, fair use policies apply.

If creating a podcast with all original materials, the creator owns the copyright.

All necessary rights and permissions must be secured if creating a podcast with

  • previously published materials.  (If usingsomething you wrote, you still must get permission if you signed thecopyright over to a publisher.)
  • audio of another person’s voice.
  • a performance of someone else’s music.
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