DVDs & movies

Note: for convenience, the term DVD is used to cover material in film, video and DVD formats.

 

Using commercial DVDs

  • generally you can show a hired or purchased DVD in a class as part of a course of instruction, provided only University of Sydney students and staff are present
  • do not download DVDs from file sharing websites as these usually contain illegal material. Downloading illegal DVDs is not only an infringement of copyright but is also a breach of The University’s Policy on the Use of University Information and Communication Technology Resources (ICT Resources) (pdf)
  • it is an offence to play an infringing copy of a DVD or to play a DVD that was imported without the permission of the copyright owner – check that the copies you use are legitimate
  • usually, you cannot copy anything from a hired or purchased DVD, even if it is not commercially available, without the permission of the copyright owners. However, s200AB may in certain circumstances allow you to copy sections from purchased DVDs.
  • in general, you cannot stream a commercial DVD to students even if the website is secure and password controlled. If you wish to stream DVDs you will usually need permission or a licence from the copyright owner. However, in certain circumstances s200AB may allow you to stream sections from purchased DVDs.
  • if members of the public are present or if the DVD is shown for entertainment purposes, such as a film society screening, you will need to obtain a non-theatrical exhibition licence to screen it. Two organisations can provide you with licences to screen the DVD in public and rent you a copy of the DVD.
    Don’t use a copy hired from a video shop as you may infringe the contract you have with them.

    - Roadshow Non-Theatrical Film & Video Hire - email or phone (02) 9552 8600

    - Amalgamated Movies – visit www.amalgamatedmovies.com

    - Roadshow represent an extensive range of movies but do not have a catalogue. However, the organisations have different collections of DVDs so check with both before contacting the distributor or copyright holder directly.


Remember: Under Part VA of the Copyright Act and the agreement with Screenrights the University can record TV and radio broadcasts received in Australia. These copies can be used for educational purposes in return for royalty payments to the copyright owners. See the section TV & radio broadcasts for more information.

Screening YouTube videos in class

YouTube is a video sharing website that allows registered users to upload content. Anyone can view material on the site for free. YouTube prohibits loading content that infringes copyright but this has proved difficult to enforce. It contains a vast amount of useful and legitimate material, but unfortunately there is also a significant amount of infringing material that has been uploaded without the copyright owner’s permission. It is not always easy to tell what is legal and what is not.

Current legal advice is that you can screen a YouTube film clip or video in a class under s28 of the Copyright Act as long as:

  • the video is streamed directly from YouTube
  • only University of Sydney students and staff are present
  • the class is not conducted for profit

You should not download videos from YouTube to show in class. This is against YouTube’s Terms of Use which allow access for personal use only and do not permit downloading of videos.
To do so usually requires the circumvention of a copy control technological protection measure. This is not an offence under the Copyright Act but making a circumvention device for another person or supplying a circumvention device or service is prohibited by the Act. Effectively, this makes it impossible to legally circumvent a technological protection measure.

For more information, see the Australia Copyright Council’s Q&As on using YouTube for education.

Changing the format of videos, films and DVDs

Under Australian copyright law, there is no general right to change the format of films and videos, to transfer a video to DVD or to make a digital file of a film or video. The right to make adaptations of material is one of the exclusive rights of the copyright owners, who are entitled to take legal action against organisations and individuals who infringe their copyright.

There are some circumstances when it is possible to change the format of a video:

  • when the material was recorded from a TV broadcast received in Australia under Part VA of the Copyright Act and the University’s agreement with Screenrights. See TV & radio broadcasts for more information.
  • s200AB of the Copyright Act may permit format shifting for educational instruction under limited conditions. This is not a blanket authorisation and each case must be considered individually.
  • you own part or all of the copyright and have the permission from the other copyright owners involved in the production.
  • the University owns the copyright or claims ownership of the copyright under the University of Sydney (Intellectual Property) Rule 2002
  • the material is out of copyright – this is unlikely given the duration of copyright and the multiple layers of copyright owners involved in the production of movies and television programs. See Duration of copyright for more information.

Using s200AB

The flexible dealing or special case exception, s200AB was introduced into the Copyright Act in December 2006 and is intended as a flexible exception that allows the use of copyright material for certain socially useful purposes.

Under this section of the Copyright Act, the University does not have a blanket licence to change the format of material and carry out activities such as transferring a commercially produced video to DVD or making an electronic file from a DVD. This is a ‘special case’ exception and each case should be considered on its individual merits.

The Act sets out a number of tests or questions which have to be answered before you can copy or communicate material under this section including:

  1. the material must be used for educational instruction only
  2. the use must not generate a profit
  3. another section of the Copyright Act should not apply to the copying
  4. the planned use should not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work by the copyright owner
  5. the legitimate rights of the copyright owner must not be prejudiced
  6. the case for the copying or action must be special.



You should also keep the following general points in mind:

  • online access must be limited to University staff and students
  • the original copy must be legitimate i.e. not a pirated or illegal copy
  • any copy protection devices on the original copy must remain intact
  • you should keep a record of your investigations and responses to the questions set out above for future reference.

 

Examples of possible use of s200AB


Example 1: Format shifting of videos

A lecturer needs to screen a set of three purchased videos in a class but video equipment is no longer provided in the lecture theatres. Can she copy the videos to DVD format so she can use them in her class? 

Apply the six tests:

  1. The material must be used for educational instruction
    – yes, it’s for a course run by the University.
  2. The use must be non-commercial
    – the new DVDs will be screened in a routine class so the use is non–commercial and will not generate a profit.
  3. Another section of the Copyright Act should not apply to the copying
    – no other section of the Copyright Act permits format shifting for educational use. Only copies of TV broadcasts recorded under Part VA can be format shifted and this does not apply to this set of videos.
  4. The use will not conflict with normal exploitation of the work
    - the lecturer checks a number of websites including the distributor’s website to see if the videos are available for purchase in DVD format also checking overseas vendors who can supply copies quickly.
    She finds that DVD copies are not available for purchase.
  5. The use will not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate rights of the copyright owner
    – the lecturer will minimise the risk by only making one copy of the videos, ensuring that the creators are acknowledged on the new copy and screening it in class to University of Sydney students.
  6. The use is a special case
    – there is an immediate and identified need since the lecturer needs to have the videos in DVD format to screen in her class and without the material the educational value and quality of the course will be compromised.

CONCLUSION: the lecturer can format shift the set of videos to DVD.

The DVDs should be labelled and a record of the checks carried out should be kept. Use this s200AB educational use checklist.




Example 2: Copying excerpts from a video or DVD to make a compilation to show in a class

A lecturer wants to copy some small sections from a purchased DVD to screen in a class because it is difficult to cue the DVD to play the sections at the appropriate time in her class. Can she do this?  

Apply the six tests:

  1. The material must be used for educational instruction
    – yes, the compilation DVD will be used for a course run by the University.
  2. The use must be non-commercial
    – the compilation DVD will be shown in a routine class, so the use is non–commercial and will not generate a profit.
  3. Another section of the Copyright Act should not apply to the copying
    – no other section of the Copyright Act permits copying of sections from a purchased video or DVD. Only copies of TV broadcasts recorded under Part VA can be format shifted and this does not apply in this case.
  4. The use will not conflict with normal exploitation of the work
    - the lecturer checks a number of websites to establish if the DVD’s producer offers a service or licence to make compilations. No licence or service is available.
  5. The use will not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate rights of the copyright owner
    – the lecturer will minimise the risk by only copying small sections of the material, ensuring that the creators are acknowledged on the new copy and screening the material in class to University of Sydney students.
  6. The use is a special case
    – there is an immediate and identified need since the lecturer needs to have a compilation of the material to conduct her class.

CONCLUSION: a compilation of material from the DVD can be copied under s200AB, however the lecturer discovers that the DVD cannot actually be copied due to access controls on the DVD. s200AB does not allow the circumvention of access control technological measures to copy material.

Fortunately, the lecturer has access to a video copy and is able to make the compilation from this. She should label the new DVDs and keep a record of the checks carried out.


TIP: Most commercial DVDs have access controls, so if you need to copy a DVD for educational use start by checking for a copy recorded from a TV broadcast, as this allows you to operate under Part VA and gives you more flexibility. See TV & radio broadcasts for more information

 


Example 3: Uploading a film to a learning management system

A lecturer is keen to make an educational film available online to students for one of his courses which has a number of off-campus students. The film was purchased and his department holds copies in both video and DVD formats. He has established that the film has never been screened on TV in a broadcast received in Australia. Can he do this?

Apply the 6 tests:

  1. The material must be used for educational instruction
    – yes, the DVD will be made available online via the University LMS for a course run by the University.
  2. The use must be non-commercial
    – the DVD will be placed online for routine class so the use is non–commercial and will not generate a profit.
  3. Another section of the Copyright Act should not apply to the copying
    – no other section of the Copyright Act permits the communication of a video or DVD. Copies of TV broadcasts recorded under Part VA can be communicated but the lecturer has already established that Part VA does not apply in this case.
  4. The use will not conflict with normal exploitation of the work
    - the lecturer checks the film distributor’s website to establish if a licence is available to place the material online for educational purposes. He cannot see any evidence of this from the website.
  5. The use will not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate rights of the copyright owner
    – the lecturer needs to put the whole film online but will minimise the risk of prejudicing the copyright owner’s rights by making the film available only to students enrolled in the particular course for a short period of time. Access will be controlled via Unikey and students will not be able to download a copy of the film.
  6. The use is a special case
    – there is an immediate and identified need since the class has off-campus students.

CONCLUSION: The film can be copied and made available online via the University LMS. The lecturer should ensure that a notice indicating that the material was copied and communicated under s200AB appears before the material is displayed online and keep a record of the checks he carried out.


He should also ensure that technological protection measures are not circumvented when the copy is made.


 

The provisions of s200AB are complex and you should check with the Director of Copyright Services before using the section for copying or format shifting.