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Copyright Law & The Library: Electronic Media

Television Off-Air Recordings

  • A broadcast program may be recorded off-air simultaneously with broadcast transmission and retained by a non-profit educational institution for a period not to exceed the first forty-five (45) consecutive calendar days after the date of recording.  Upon conclusion of such retention period, all off-air recordings must be erased or destroyed immediately.  “Broadcast programs” are television programs transmitted by television stations for reception by the general public without charge.
  • Off-air recordings may be used by individual teachers in the course of relevant teaching activities and repeated once only when instructional reinforcement is necessary, in classrooms and other places devoted to instruction.
  •  Off-air recordings may be made only at the request of and used by individual teachers, and may not be regularly recorded in anticipation of requests.
  • After the first ten (10) consecutive school days, off-air recordings may be used up to the end of the forty-five (45) calendar-day retention period only for teacher evaluation purposes, i.e., to determine whether or not to include the broadcast program in the teaching curriculum.
  • Off-air recordings need not be used in their entirety, but the recorded programs may not be altered from their original content.
  • On some occasions it is possible to license a program, copy it, and retain it for our collection.

Sound Recordings (Records, Tapes)

  • Recordings may not be reproduced in their entirety, for any reason without permission from the publisher.
  • Portions of some tapes or records may be reproduced, if the fair use criteria are met.

Computer Programs

  • Computer programs are specifically defined as literary works and thus follow the same copyright guidelines.  They may not be copied unless fair use criteria are met.
  • The owner of a computer program may make a copy of the program provided it is necessary for the program’s use or that the copy is for archival purposes and would be destroyed if the original were sold or given away.
  • Any written material that accompanies the program (i.e., manuals or lesion guides) is also protected by copyright.