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Copyright Guidelines

Taping Television Programs for Classroom

Please note: The following copyright guidelines apply to commercial and non-commercial television broadcast programs EXCEPT

• when the program description states extended educational taping rights. (PBS programs have a minimum of one-year taping rights from the date of broadcast. See Cable in the Classroom for taping rights for most television programs of educational interest.)

• for Prairie School Television programs for member schools. Please contact our staff or your school principal to find out if your school is a member of Prairie School Television. All North Dakota schools ARE MEMBERS.

10-Day Fair-Use Guidelines

The guidelines for videotaping broadcast programming are contained in the “Guidelines for Off-the-Air Recording of Broadcast Programming for Educational Purposes,” ratified in 1981 by the House Subcommittee on the Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice. Although they do not have the force of law, they can be expected to serve as primary criteria when courts access fair use in any future cases involving off-air videotaping for educational purposes.

Although there are a number of restrictions placed on the use of videotaped television programs, the two most critical limitations are:

  1. Videotaped recordings may be kept for not more than 45 calendar days after the recording date, at which time the tapes must be erased.
  2. Videotaped recordings may be shown to students only within the first 10 school days of the 45-day retention period.

Additional restrictions that must be followed include:

  1. Off-air recordings must be made only at the request of an individual teacher for instructional purposes, not by school staff in anticipation of later requests by teachers.
  2. The recordings are to be shown to students no more than two times during the 10-day period, and the second time only for necessary instructional reinforcement.
  3. The taped recordings may be viewed after the 10-day period only by teachers for evaluation purposes, that is, to determine whether to include the broadcast program in the curriculum in the future.
  4. If several teachers request videotaping of the same program, duplicate copies are permitted to supply their request; all copies are subject to the same restrictions as the original recording.
  5. The off-air recordings may not physically or electronically be altered or combined with others to form anthologies, but they need not necessarily be used or shown in their entirety.
  6. All copies of off-air recordings must include the copyright notice on the broadcast program as recorded.
  7. These guidelines apply only to nonprofit educational institutions, which are further “expected to establish appropriate control procedures to maintain the integrity of these guidelines.”

Note: The 10-Day Fair Use Guidelines apply to all commercial television broadcasts and to some public television broadcasts. Educators should also remember that these guidelines are operative only in the absence of other negotiated rights (see 7-Day School Re-record Rights, for example) or licensing agreements, which themselves may be either more or less restrictive than these guidelines.