Saturday, March 12, 2011

Week 2 - Wimba Response

Fair Use is a touchy issue in schools, especially in my role as the library media specialist.  My principal recently approached me about beginning a school movie night.  Ouch!  I thought.  How in the world can we get away with this without breaking copyright laws?  As usual I go to the media specialist listserv to get the opinions of the other "library ladies" and few men in our district.  I was directed to a site that sells movie licenses for school use which protects our school from lawsuits.  Another media specialist told me that it's okay as long as the parents stay with the students.  My thoughts went to all the movies we show during the last few days of school. We certainly do not have parents with our 850+ students so are we breaking the law?  Indeed we are.  I found a couple of interesting websites for Fair Use Guidelines for Education Media and Intellectual Property- read them and tell me what you think. 

Hmm, I wonder if it is worth my sanity to delve into the Disney debate?  Probably not. 


  1. I too have run into the problem of showing movies. I read on the back of one of the videos that if it was being used in the private home it was ok, but it could not be used for public viewing. You were right in checking with the other media people in your district. Movie night does not mean you can go to Netflix and get a movie and show it to the whole school. Just can't do that in this day and age. And especially not Disney.

  2. It is not worth your sanity to delve into the Disney debate. Disney is very protective about their copyrights and they are most likely to slap your fingers (or worse) for using their movies for movie night.

    I did have a great awakening on this subject. I too was curious about using movies as a school. I looked at the back of a video and it mentioned that a particular movie could not be used in a large setting. So "movie night" may have to be scrapped unless you carry a license for the particular movie that you wanted to show.

    It's like having movies in a public place for a sleepover... using movies that you own may not be something that can be used in a public place. Good luck trying to find something. Try Discovery learning but stay away from Disney!

  3. Get permission and all bets are off, otherwise, shame on your principal for putting you in a position that he should have a better understanding about. Yes, there are definitely ways to get the required licenses, but many administrators make the same "buy at costco, play in the classroom" assumption. I'm glad that you at least have made the effort to communicate with fellow media folk to work though this problem.


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