Multimedia Guidelines

We maintain a small collection of various audiovisual materials (primarily DVDs, but also some audiocassettes, CDs, CD-ROMs, videocassettes, etc.) supporting the academic curriculum.

The Copyright Act of 1976 governs the rights of reproduction, adaptation, distribution, display and public performance. Several sections of this act have implications for our AV collection. According to the ALA Library Fact Sheet 7: Video and Copyright*:

  • When we purchase a video, we own the physical object, but not the copyright.
  • Copyright law determines what we can and cannot do with these materials. However, the law also includes exceptions for lending and preservation, as well as face-to-face classroom use (online use is permitted with very specific conditions).
  • When a desired use falls outside of these exceptions, permission must be sought from the rights holder and fees are likely.

Personal Use

The library loans videos, in whatever available format, to patrons for their personal use. DVDs have a 45 day loan period. Fees apply for lost items.

Classroom Use

Public performances of a video/DVD in the face-to-face classroom is an exception and lawful under the following conditions:

  • Teaching activities are conducted by a non-profit education institution
  • Performance is in connection with face-to-face teaching activities
  • Performance takes place in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction
  • Person responsible for the performance has no reason to believe the video was unlawfully made*

Library Reserves Use

Videos that directly support the class curriculum may be put on reserve for check out during library business hours. Check out periods can be designated as in library use only for 2 or 4 hours or for 1 or 5 days to circulate outside of the library.

Our Media Viewing Room (M03) on the Mezzanine level has DVD/Blu-ray players and VCRs and may be used to view reserve videos and videos for classroom assignments. Headsets are required and provided.

Public Performance

“Most public performances of a video in a public room (including library meeting rooms), whether or not a fee is charged, are an infringement of copyright. Such performances require a public performance license from the rights holder.”*

Most videos in the library do not have public performance rights. The library purchases videos with these rights upon request and makes a “Public performance rights” note in the item’s catalog record (example).


* “ALA Library Fact Sheet 7 – Video and Copyright,” American Library Association, January 2014. http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet07) (Accessed March 11, 2015)

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