Is This Legal?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jacquelyn Peters, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Feb 16, 2016

    I am a High School Physics teacher and I own a legal copy of The Martian. The kids keep asking about the movie because I mention it a lot in class to give examples because a lot of topics that we are talking about are discussed in the movie. Current copyright and fair use laws have been quite confusing for me and I was wondering if anybody here is familiar with them. If I were to show the movie in class to my Physics kids with a legal copy of the movie, will the violate fair use laws? Thank you!
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Feb 16, 2016

    I want to say it depends on the number of students in the class. At some point permission is,needed.
     
  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Feb 16, 2016

    As long as it is being used for an educational, nonprofit purpose, most likely it falls under fair use:
    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

    Instead of thinking tons about that though, you'll want to talk to your administrators and/or colleagues about specific rules that your school or district have, though. They may have particular policies about the use of movies that you will need to follow, which may immediately make the decision for you.

    Finally, you might consider just showing some portions of it, and not the whole movie - but that's more of a personal opinion, and you should of course follow your best judgement for what is appropriate as a part of their education while still also following your school policy.
     
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  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 16, 2016

    For us to use a movie, it has to be owned by us (no Redbox, no streaming but actually owning the movie). And of course a lesson plan that goes along with it, permission from the P and permission slips if it's anything more than PG or PG13, not sure.
     
  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Feb 17, 2016

    About 15 or so years ago, we were told that to be on the safe side, permission had to be granted by the production company. As I recall, Disney was especially strict about the use of their movies in schools. I'm not sure how, but permission was obtained from several companies. On another occasion, I also found out that not all PBS shows are available without permission from the originating production company. My recommendation would be to call the producer's customer service and ask; because it's a school, perhaps they would donate a free showing of the film. If your school has an identification number, it might help to have that handy when you call for verification.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Feb 17, 2016

    As long as you don't tell anybody, what's the difference? Always better to ask forgiveness than permission in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My understanding is that anything shown outside of your private home is considered a public performance and would therefore be a violation of copyright laws unless you've obtained licensing rights (which you can purchase online for a fee). Classroom teachers can sometimes get around this, but there are very specific criteria, including the movie being an essential part of the required curriculum. I'm not sure this qualifies as that.
     
  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I'd disagree with this, at least in this and some other cases. If it comes down to a legality, better safe than sorry...much like driving down the road - you might not be 100% sure of the speed limit, so you really ought to play it safe. Telling the cop you didn't know the speed limit and asking forgiveness won't necessarily help. There's definitely times for this, but why go down this route even if you think about it beforehand, and have the opportunity to ask fellow teachers (i.e. here) and talk to your administration (i.e. their principal)?
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 17, 2016

    This doesn't sound like you Peregrin, at all. Did someone hack your account?

    At my district, our superintendent is very strict about copyright issues and heads could roll because of that. I guess they don't want a bad reputation of not playing by the book or a big lawsuit.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nope. Wasn't hacked. I just think its ridiculous about all of the legality and red tape you have to jump through to show an educational video or movie to students in schools. These studios have ridiculous copyright requirements, especially for things that are meant for education.

    I've purchased videos from some of these studios from Amazon to show to my class, and what was great was I was able to download them in case the internet went out. Apparently, the studios had a fit, and forced Amazon to revoke that right, meaning I could only stream. I was fed up with it and just pirated them. I really don't care. And no one is going to tell on me. If I purchase something, I should have the right to use it how I wish.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's not that hard to purchase the rights to show a movie to a class--hardly any red tape at all, actually.

    http://k12.movlic.com/
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    $172 to show a single movie at the cheapest price? Pardon me, but no.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I didn't say it is inexpensive, just that it isn't difficult to do it legally through the proper channels. If you're okay with pirating stuff, then so be it. In my district that's a violation of our Acceptable Use Policy and we can be held accountable for that. It's not my hill, personally.
     
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  15. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Feb 17, 2016

    From that same site:

    I thought schools were exempt from needing a license to legally use copyrighted movies.
    Under the "Educational Exemption" copyrighted entertainment movies may be shown in a school without copyright permission only if all criteria are met:

    • A teacher or instructor is present
    • The showing takes place in a classroom setting with only the enrolled students attending
    • The movie is used as an essential part of the core, required curriculum being taught. (The instructor should be able to show how the use of the motion picture contributes to the overall required course study and syllabus.)
    • The movie being used is a legitimate copy, not taped from a legitimate copy or taped from TV
    For specific requirements, please reference The Copyright Act of 1976, Public Law No. 94-553, 90 stat 2541: Title 17; Section 110(i), or consult your copyright attorney.
    back to top

    The $172 is for something a whole school showing in an auditorium, not a teacher showing Dante's Peak in class, with a lesson plan to 30 kids in a specific class. In our district, we can show movies if they are owned by a certain number of our libraries.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
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  16. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Feb 17, 2016

    Though as long as it meets the requirements below, then no need to buy the rights in addition to having the movie:

    • A teacher or instructor is present (check)
    • The showing takes place in a classroom setting with only the enrolled students attending (check)
    • The movie is used as an essential part of the core, required curriculum being taught. (The instructor should be able to show how the use of the motion picture contributes to the overall required course study and syllabus.) (this you want to make sure of)
    • The movie being used is a legitimate copy, not taped from a legitimate copy or taped from TV (check)
     
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  17. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Feb 18, 2016

    I agree with mathmagic, "essential part" are the tricky words in the allowance; on the one hand, there are millions of other approaches to teaching a lesson, but on the other hand, as a teacher, we might consider the movie to be the best approach, therefore making it essential. Part of me is thinking, these companies make oodles of money on just one movie or TV show, surely they can afford to allow a school to show it for free. In the long run, the more educated students are, the more likely they will earn enough money in the future to support their industry. Another part of me was considering the lower person in the industry such as the teleplay writer who might be depending on every sale for royalties, but then again, if they donate a film, they sure have enough extra money to still pay the writer a royalty. Actually, my thoughts are spinning wondering why these companies don't have such a procedure in place to volunteer their products to schools without us wondering about it, (perhaps they aren't aware that some teachers consider such media helpful in their teaching); they could even install a few ads in the DVD to help pay the expenses, or write it off as a tax break. I'm also wondering if any companies who might incidentally be reading these posts would like to weigh in with their side of the situation.
     
  18. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2016

    I teach film studies, so the movies I show are pretty essential... :)
     
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  19. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Feb 18, 2016

    I'm not an attorney, but I will give you the info on what I found out the last I checked on this issue. You can show this for classroom use if all of the following apply:
    *There is no money collected from any student for the showing of the movie.
    *You own or rented a legal copy.
    *You are using it for an educational purpose.
    *The size of the screen is not considered too large. (I think this refers showing it on a movie or oversize screen might need special permission)
    The size of the audience isn't too large (showing it to a class you are probably fine, but to a whole school--probably not)

    Again, I am not an attorney, but this is what I found out when I had investigated this issue years ago.
     
  20. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Feb 19, 2016

    Several years ago at our back to school training we were given strict instructions no Disney movies what so ever. When all is said and done I agree with Peregrin. I am going to show a movie in my class if I need to. We aren't really aloud any way to show full length movies. I have at times used videos of classic cartoons and classic holiday cartoons. I have watched Polar Express at Christmas with permission from my principal and so have other teachers. At the end of the year (last day) I always show some sort of fun movie, instead of going to a hot picnic like the rest of the grade level does. It's me in my classroom having a party. Would be the same of I invited all of them to my my house and watched the movie. The actors and the studios are making plenty of money and I don't really care.
     
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  21. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Feb 19, 2016

    Hmm. It's just never been something I've worried about. When I taught 8th grade, I showed The Diary of Anne Frank after reading the play. I would have liked to have shown The Giver, but it wasn't released yet. When I taught Much Ado About Nothing to my 9th graders, we watched the Joss Whedon movie. My 11th graders watched The Time Machine. My 12th graders watched Hamlet. I have different educational reasons for showing each movie. I do hold myself to each class only getting to watch one movie a year. Usually, it's to help make the material more accessible or as a motivational incentive. Sometimes, it is to analyze historical context or compare contrast.
     
  22. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I have shown the film in question. Submitted the lesson plans with the connections, packet that I created to accompany the movie, experiments we did in class as a tie in, etc. If it is a valid lesson plan and the science can be explored as either real, questionable, unlikely, then you have created inquiry and ways to explore the hypotheses that the students create. That is science at it's best.
     
  23. PoliticalFutbol

    PoliticalFutbol Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2016

    Yeah, maybe. Even teachers in Hollywood and surrounding areas got away with it and I never heard directors, actors or production companies say anything. I think every one knew.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016

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