Abstract

There are many differing interpretations of copyright law when it comes to digitizing and providing streaming video as a library service. Librarians at the University of Kansas (KU) have long been interested in providing a streaming video service for pedagogical purposes, but KU general counsel always took a conservative stance on this practice and would not allow it. When KU Libraries hired a new dean, who was also a copyright attorney, general counsel became amenable to the fair use arguments the dean provided, and after working through workflow and technical issues, a new streaming service was introduced to KU faculty and students.

Growing demand for streaming content along with the diminishing availability of playback equipment in the classroom for VHS and DVDs were primary motivators in the establishment of this service. Preference for streaming content for classroom use mirrors the greater trend for streaming content and the downward trend for physical media in the marketplace, as well as the increased usage of video for classroom instruction and research. This service not only serves to meet faculty and student expectations for access, it allows for greater accommodation of online and distance education. In this article, KU librarians provide a survey of the policies at selected academic libraries for providing access to streaming video and discuss the various interpretations of copyright law and fair use, including the interpretation of fair use that allows the KU Libraries to provide a streaming service, and an examination of the rationale and the technological environment that necessitate such a service.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.5703/1288284317040

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What Makes Us Do It? The Legalities and Demand That Necessitate a Library Video Streaming Service

There are many differing interpretations of copyright law when it comes to digitizing and providing streaming video as a library service. Librarians at the University of Kansas (KU) have long been interested in providing a streaming video service for pedagogical purposes, but KU general counsel always took a conservative stance on this practice and would not allow it. When KU Libraries hired a new dean, who was also a copyright attorney, general counsel became amenable to the fair use arguments the dean provided, and after working through workflow and technical issues, a new streaming service was introduced to KU faculty and students.

Growing demand for streaming content along with the diminishing availability of playback equipment in the classroom for VHS and DVDs were primary motivators in the establishment of this service. Preference for streaming content for classroom use mirrors the greater trend for streaming content and the downward trend for physical media in the marketplace, as well as the increased usage of video for classroom instruction and research. This service not only serves to meet faculty and student expectations for access, it allows for greater accommodation of online and distance education. In this article, KU librarians provide a survey of the policies at selected academic libraries for providing access to streaming video and discuss the various interpretations of copyright law and fair use, including the interpretation of fair use that allows the KU Libraries to provide a streaming service, and an examination of the rationale and the technological environment that necessitate such a service.